We explore and explain what is extra virgin olive oil?

What is extra virgin olive oil? Extra virgin olive oil is the natural fruit juice that has been extracted from olives at temperature below 30 degrees C, without any additions or modifications. It has zero defects on sensory tasting and meets certain chemical tests to ensure that the free acidity (oleic acid) value is 0.8% or lower and the peroxides are less than 33g per kg. It is completely natural and has not been refined or modified in any way.

Cold-pressed or first pressed are terms referring to the temperature at extraction, for Extra Virgin Olive Oil this may not be higher than 30 degrees C.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be consumed within 18 months of harvesting. The oil loses its anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins in time.It should be stored in air-tight containers and kept in a cool, dark place. Light and air are the enemies of EVOO.

What is not extra virgin olive oil

Virgin Olive Oil is a lesser quality olive oil than Extra Virgin. It is extracted in the same way, is a natural, unrefined oil with free acidity level below 2%, and peroxides of not more than 3.3g per 100g. Virgin oils have minimal defects.

Olive Oil is refined olive oil that has been blended with a minimal amount of virgin olive oils. Refined olive oil is often sold as Light or Pure olive oil. This oil no longer contains the natural anti-oxidants of EVOO.

Pomace Oil is banned for human consumption in Europe, but is still sold and consumed in SA. It has not medical beneficial qualities at all. It is advisable to avoid this product.

Taken from: The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa, Harvest 2015, third edition.