When shopping for olive oils, you may find that there are a plethora of types to choose from. However, it’s important to note that not all olive oils are best for cooking with, and not all are of the greatest quality.
For example, refined olive oils have fewer health and cooking benefits than non-refined olive oils.
Therefore, many shoppers want to know whether or not manufacturers refine extra virgin olive oil since it’s one of the better-known olive oils.
So, is extra virgin olive oil refined? The brief answer is, no, extra virgin olive oil is not refined. It’s made from virgin olive oils and is not treated with chemicals. Refined oils come from a different process.
In this article, we’ll explain why extra virgin olive oil is not considered a refined olive oil. Further, we’ll look into how EVOO gets made.
Then, we’ll give our best tips on how to differentiate extra virgin olive oil from refined olive oil when shopping.
Table of Contents
What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Made Of?
Part of what sets extra virgin olive oil apart from other olive oils is that it is the most pure form of olive oil. It’s considered the highest quality olive oil, with virgin olive oil just a tier below it.
Then, we have refined olive oils (regular olive oil), which are of lower quality due to their production.
The “virgin” in the name extra virgin olive oil is a pure oil made from cold-pressed olives. The pressing releases oil from the olives, and this is essentially what you’re buying when you buy EVOO.
There is no heat and no chemicals involved in the production process for EVOO, which is why the process takes a long time and makes this oil more expensive.
Since extra virgin olive oil has to undergo this intense production process, it then follows that it must meet standards when it’s done.
If it doesn’t meet the standards of EVOO quality, it then gets refined and processed. When this happens, it gets passed off as regular olive oil when sold in stores.
Benefits of Choosing EVOO Instead of Refined Olive Oil
Although extra virgin olive oil is more expensive than refined olive oil, there are some benefits to choosing EVOO that extend beyond the kitchen.
It Tastes Better
When it comes to cooking savory foods with olive oil, extra virgin olive oil may just be the better choice.
Since EVOO gets produced with cold pressing, this means that it maintains a lot of its flavor.
Refined olive oil, on the other hand, gets made via heat processes, which is what causes it to have a more bland flavor overall.
When a food isn’t refined, it contains more of its natural flavor and makeup, which usually means it’s healthier than the refined version.
Aside from being naturally healthier than other cooking oils, such as canola oil, EVOO is healthier than regular olive oil due to its natural creation.
Extra virgin olive oil contains more antioxidants than regular olive oil. Antioxidants have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, growing good bacteria, heart-healthy purposes, and more.
Further, if you refine olive oil, you start to remove many of the healthy vitamins and natural properties that make it so healthy to begin with.
Therefore, the healthier option is to choose unrefined olive oil (extra virgin olive oil).
Read also: Is Rice Bran Oil Refined (The Truth!)
Best Tips for Finding Unrefined vs. Refined Olive Oils
Many of us are familiar with the confusion faced when browsing cooking oils. When you go to the grocery store and shop for a decent olive oil, you’re faced with rows and rows of different types and brands.
And this is not to mention the various other oils, such as avocado oil and vegetable oil, that you find on the shelves.
When looking for unrefined olive oils, there are some strategies to help you find what you’re looking for. Firstly, look for olive oils that have the “extra virgin olive oil” certification.
In order for an EVOO product to be truly extra virgin, it needs to have undergone the cold pressing process and get certified before it’s sold.
The other key tip is to peruse the product names on the bottles. Any bottle of olive oil labeled “olive oil”, “light olive oil”, or “pure olive oil” is going to be a refined version of olive oil.
Further, make sure not to let prices deceive you. Although EVOO is typically more expensive than refined olive oil, this isn’t always the case.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can cook with. However, sifting your way through the various types of olive oil can be a headache.
If you’re looking specifically for unrefined olive oil, though, you should look to extra virgin olive oils.
They’re cold-pressed in production, meaning they are the highest quality and healthiest olive oil you can find.
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