Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Olive oil is undoubtedly highly appreciated in gastronomy, but its applications and benefits go far beyond the kitchen. Its benefits for hair and skin stand out, which is why it is frequently used in beauty treatments. Hence, it is a product of daily use and essential in any home.

The quality of the olive oil affects the effectiveness of its properties, so a well-made oil will be much more beneficial and a better investment. The profile of a good olive oil is defined by aspects such as purity, extraction method and type of packaging. These are diverse and we explain them in depth below.




Summary

  • The level of refining of olive oil is very important in its quality profile, as it defines the aroma and taste. The more refined the oil, the less acidity it has, so the more refined oils are preferred in gastronomy, while the less refined ones work very well in beauty treatments.
  • The applications of olive oil in beauty treatments are numerous and effective. It is a great moisturiser for skin and hair, so it can be integrated into body creams and hair conditioners as part of the daily beauty routine.
  • Olive oil is made from the olive, the fruit of the olive tree. And it is so popular that a research and production industry has been created, dedicated to cultivating olives of the highest quality. From these ideal fruits a better quality oil can be extracted.

The Best Olive Oil: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Before deciding on any brand or presentation of olive oil, you should know what it is and what its properties are. So to help you make your decision easier we have also determined the approximate budget you need to buy a good olive oil.

Olive oil will add a delicious touch to any salad. (Photo: dolgachov/ 123rf.com)

What is olive oil and what are its benefits?

Olive oil is an oily substance that has been around since 4,000 BC and is made from the fruit of the olive tree: olives. Because almost a third of the olive is oil, the production of olive oil is abundant, but the preparation has particularities that make it one of the most exclusive vegetable oils.

The benefits of olive oil to the body are numerous, among other things it helps to keep bad cholesterol levels low, aids in the assimilation of fats which prevents fat accumulation and weight gain, and lowers blood glucose levels. It is also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants.

Advantages
  • It has many health benefits
  • Its delicious taste accentuates flavours in food
  • It can be consumed both raw and cooked
  • It is a natural moisturiser
  • It gives shine and strength to hair
Disadvantages
  • For the type of product its average cost is high
  • It must be kept in special circumstances so that it does not get damaged
  • But its deterioration over time is inevitable
  • The best quality ones are quite expensive

Extra virgin, virgin, lampante or refined olive oil – what should you pay attention to?

Olive oil is a product that must be prepared with care in order to achieve a high quality result. This implies that there are many criteria to check when choosing an olive oil product. But the first one to define is the level of acidity you are looking for: virgin, extra virgin, lampante or refined.

In making this decision, consider primarily the use you will make of it. For cooking, more treated oils are preferred, as they accentuate flavours better. While cosmetic treatments can be effective with less treatment. The more the oil is treated, the lower the acidity level.

Extra virgin Virgin Lampante Refined
Level of processing This is the most treated olive oil that can be obtained It is well processed Low It is a mixture of lampante oil and virgin oil
Quality The highest Highest Excellent for gastronomic uses This is the lowest quality oil
Type of olives Best quality, selected Good olives, not selected Made from defective olives Not made from olives, but from other olive oils
Acidity Lowest Low Medium-high Medium-high
Uses Gastronomic Gastronomic Aesthetic treatments Aesthetic treatments

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different olive oil products

Before choosing an olive oil or an olive oil-based product, you should take into account some criteria to ensure the best decision. We tell you what these aspects are that you should consider.

  • Purity
  • Aroma and taste
  • Packaging
  • Date of production

Purity

The purity of olive oil is determined by various indicators, and as you might expect, the ideal is maximum purity. It is common for the oil to be contaminated on many occasions during the preparation process, but these cases are exceptions.

For the average user it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine the purity level of an oil. So the best option is to trust the brand that offers the oil. Many culinary specialists recommend looking for small brands, as when preparing large quantities of the product it is more likely to be contaminated.

Also check that the brand you are considering does not use inappropriate chemicals to refine the oil. Mediterranean brands have more prestige than those from other regions, as this is the land that gave birth to this oil several millennia ago.

Aroma and flavour

These two are indicators of the quality of the product, as when it is poorly manufactured these are the aspects that suffer the most. So you can determine the quality of the oil you are going to buy by paying attention to these aspects.

Aroma. In theory an extra virgin oil should have a fresh and penetrating aroma, as well as a mild flavour and an absence of acidity. If it does not meet these characteristics it is not in the best condition, so it is preferable to look for another option.

Flavour. In this respect, acidity is the indicator of quality. More refined oils are less acidic and ideal for gastronomy, but if you are looking for an aesthetic treatment you can save a few pesos if you opt for a low refined oil.

Packaging

Olive oil can be seriously damaged by a certain spectrum of light. Therefore, during its preparation, it should not be exposed to light, and it is often preferred to do so at night.

So it is important to avoid oils that are packaged in transparent packaging, as these are likely to have been affected. Those packaged in dark green or black bottles are protected, as are those packaged in cans.

Date of manufacture

The passage of time is something that does not favour olive oil, as it is one of those products that are at their best when fresh. Therefore, the best thing to do is to buy an oil whose date of manufacture is recent, as recent as possible.

Oils less than 1 year old. These are “young” oils, whose acidity level is low and whose flavour is at its best. If you need oil to cook delicious dishes you should look for this type of oil.

Oils older than 1 year. With time, olive oil loses many of its properties, so they are not recommended for gastronomic consumption. Use these oils for cosmetic treatments.

(Featured image photo: subbotina / 123rf.com

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