Types of Olive Oil

With all the different olive oils on grocery store shelves today, choosing one can be difficult. But it may help to know that olive oils are graded according to acidity.

Extra-virgin olive oil is the top grade and is extremely low in acidity (1%). It is produced by the first crushing and pressing of tree-ripened olives and has a deep color and intense olive flavor.

Virgin olive oil also comes from the first pressing of olives but has a slightly higher acidity (2%), lighter color and milder fruity flavor.

Both of these oils are best used in dishes where their stronger flavors can be appreciated.

Bottles simply labeled olive oil (previously called pure olive oil) have up to 3% acidity. They are usually a blend of refined olive oil and virgin or extra-virgin oil. It has a light color and mild flavor.

You will likely find bottles labeled light olive oil on the market, too. The word "light" refers to the color and flavor of the oil, not its calorie content. Light olive oil also contains up to 3% acidity. It has gone through a find filtration process, giving it a very mild flavor and light color. This oil is perfect for cooking and baking.