Can You Answer These Questions About Olive Oil?

Ready to test your olive oil knowledge? See how many of these questions you can answer correctly!

Question 1

What are the best ways to know if an olive oil is extra virgin?

(Choose all that apply)

  1. Check the label for a seal from a sensory and certification panel, like Applied Sensory, that says ‘Certified Extra Virgin.’

  2. Smell it to see if it has an aroma of fruit and flowers.

  3. Put it in the refrigerator – if it freezes or solidifies, it’s definitely extra virgin.

  4. Check the ingredients label – the only ingredient listed should be extra virgin olive oil.

 

Answer: A, B, & D.

There are a few good ways to ensure the accuracy of an olive oil bottles label, like those in answers A & D, but the fridge test has been debunked. A few years ago, Dr. Oz popularized the so-called “fridge test” on his nationally syndicated TV show, The Dr. Oz Show. But, according to olive oil experts, the test is “unreliable in judging whether an olive oil is truly made from olives, nor does it provide information on the quality of the oil.” Instead, check the label for a few key indicators of authenticity, and get to know what good extra virgin olive oil tastes and smells like.


Question 2

Which grade of olive oil is the healthiest?

  1. Light Olive Oil

  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  3. Virgin Olive Oil

 

Answer: B

No matter how they are marketed, the amount of fat and calories in all olive oils are the same. Light olive oil is a marketing term used for what is actually just olive oil that’s been refined to be “light” in color, odor or flavor. Virgin olive oil is made using the same process as extra virgin olive oil, but lower quality fruit causes the oil to have an off taste or smell. What makes extra virgin olive oil healthier is the phenol content. Virgin olive oil has some phenols, but due to the lower quality fruit it does not have as high of a phenol content as extra virgin. Oftentimes, virgin olive oil has some impurities that increase free radicals, which have a negative effect on your body. Stick with extra virgin olive oil for all your cooking applications – its quality gives it the best taste, most versatility, and greatest health benefits.


Question 3

The color of an extra virgin olive oil is a good indicator of its:

  1. Quality

  2. Freshness

  3. Purity

  4. None of the above

 

Answer: D

While it may seem like it should be, color is actually an unreliable indicator of quality, freshness, or purity. In his book, Extra Virginity, Tom Mueller says, “Don’t pay much attention to the color of an oil. Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw.” Flavor and aroma are better gauges of quality. When you smell and taste an extra virgin olive oil, it should taste like fruit and fresh herbs, ranging from mild to complex and diverse.


Question 4

You should never use extra virgin olive oil for:

(Choose all that apply)

  1. Finishing

  2. Sautéing

  3. Salad Dressings

  4. Baking

  5. Deep Frying

  6. Roasting

 

Answer: None of the above!

The belief that you shouldn’t heat extra virgin olive oil above a certain temperature mistakenly assumes that extra virgin olive oil has a low “smoke point.” The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it begins to break down and smoke. However, chefs and home cooks in the Mediterranean have been cooking and baking with extra virgin olive oil for generations. Our high-quality extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of upwards of 425°F, well above the ideal frying temperature of around 350ºF. A general rule of thumb: the higher the quality of the oil and the fresher it is, the higher the smoke point will be. Extra virgin olive is some of the freshest and highest quality oil available, full of antioxidants to help hold its form longer. Lower quality oils with a high free fatty acid content, on the other hand, will smoke at a lower temperature.


Question 5

In addition to your Everyday extra virgin olive oil for day-to-day cooking, you have a special extra virgin olive oil for certain recipes. It’s best to:

  1. Display it out on the counter.

  2. Save it and use it for only very special occasions.

  3. Use it frequently so it’s all finished within a month or two of opening.

  4. Let it age for a year or two in the cabinet, away from heat and light.

 

Answer: C

We think it’s great to have different extra virgin olive oils for different recipes – that’s why we offer our Destination Series line of workhorse extra virgin olive oils, and our Reserve Collection extra virgin olive oils with more pronounced olive flavor, great for finishing, dipping, and drizzling. Olive oil does not get better with age! If you wait to use your extra virgin olive oil and break it out only for special occasions, there is a good chance it will go rancid before you’re able to finish it. Instead, we recommend paying close attention to the Best-By date on the label, and using up the oil within 1-2 months once opened.


How’d you do? For more information about extra virgin olive oil, including recipes, resources, and guides, check out our Blog, and follow us on Instagram!