17 August 2007

The Flavors of Olive Oil

It may surprise you that choosing olive oil is similar to choosing a good wine. The different grades are based on flavor.

Some oils are more flavorful than others. California artisans Laurie and Alex Alexiev along with their four children produce a golden-green oil called pizzicante. This smooth oil has a strong peppery aftertaste which many consider as a condiment rather than just oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the lightest flavor and contains the richest array of antioxidants. Antioxidants are considered beneficial because they help the body rid itself of unstable molecules called free radicals and minimize harmful cellular inflammation.

Extra-virgin olive oil is produced from the first pressing of the olive fruits. The next pressing of the olives produces fine virgin oil. When you find the words cold pressed on a bottle of olive oil it means heat was not used when extracting the oil. Remember that heat destroys antioxidants, so cold pressed offers more health benefits.

The August issue of Mayo Clinic Womens Healthsource includes tips on choosing an olive oil which offers more health benefits. Their recent study compared virgin olive oil, refined olive oil and the combination of both found that virgin olive oil appears to have greater heart-health benefits. Refined means that chemicals were used to extract the oil instead of pressing.

How interesting to hear what you think is the best flavors of olive oil.


The Flavors of Olive Oil
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