Jar of olive oil on a dark countertop with green and black olives
Healthy Living

What Makes Olive Oil “Extra Virgin”?

March 25, 2021

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about different fats on the blog recently. Fats like ghee, sunflower oil, and even avocado oil

But today, we’re going to be focusing on Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO, for short)

First of All, What is Olive Oil?

To define EVOO, we first have to define olive oil. Olive oil, which is sometimes referred to as “Pure Olive Oil” or “Light Olive Oil” is a blend of refined olive oil and olive oil that’s been cold-pressed from olives. Refining is a process that treats the oil to remove any impurities, usually with chemicals or with heat. This is what gives regular olive oil that light/pale yellow color. 

Next, What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

EVOO is usually certified extra-virgin, as it hasn’t been exposed to the refining process. It is 100% just the oil that’s been pressed from the olives themselves. So, what that means is you’ll end up with an oil that’s richer and darker in color, but also contains some impurities like sediment or herbal/fruity/peppery hints, depending on where and when the olives were harvested. 

So, to answer the ultimate question, this lack of chemical/heat treatment is exactly what makes EVOO “extra virgin”. 

Additionally, EVOO has a lower smoke point (around 410 degrees Fahrenheit) than regular olive oil, since it hasn’t gone through that aforementioned heat/chemical process. 

So, if it’s your first time cooking with EVOO, be careful not to burn yourself or your food! 

What are the Health Benefits of EVOO?

EVOO is an extremely healthy fat that is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which decrease inflammation and are great for your memory. Plus, it’s filled with vitamins E and K, as well as other essential antioxidants, like oleocanthal!EVOO is rich in at least 30 compounds with antioxidant activity, which help preserve the oil’s nutrient-density even when it’s heated. 

At Snap Kitchen, we love using EVOO in our foods! For example, you can find EVOO in our chicken burrito bowl with avocado salsa as well as our naked salmon!  

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