Many dietitians point to the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. For decades, doctors have noted the lower levels of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases in this region. The diet features lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood AND olive oil!  Two of the key parts of this heart-healthy diet are the healthy fats and polyphenols found in olive oil.  This article will show you how to test olive oil like a pro – and know what you are buying.

What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Olive oil is an extract from olives. For centuries, Mediterranean farmers have harvested the fruit of olive trees for this oil. Extracting oil from olives is a costly and time-consuming task. Some producers use processing techniques such as heating the crushed olives to speed up the process – and to stabilize the oil itself.  While this provides some benefits, it also affects the quality and taste of the oil.

Extra virgin olive oil is the product of traditional, slow extraction methods. Producers crush and slowly press the olives without any extra heat or additives. The result is a pale, green oil with a delightful flavor. The minimal processing also leaves the oil with a higher polyphenol count than other varieties.  These standards for what is extra virgin, virgin, and standard olive oil are well outlined and controlled by the International Olive Council (IOC) .

How to Test Olive Oil for Purity

With so many varieties of olive oil available, it can be difficult for the untrained to understand the differences. We wanted to give you an olive oil test or two that can help you pick the right oil for your needs.

The first extra virgin olive oil test we recommend is examining the color of the oil. A green tinge is an important clue that your oil has been produced with minimal processing. The pressing process preserves the natural color of the green olives.  If it is a pale yellow or even grey – then it may be standard olive oil.

How to Test Olive Oil for Purity

The second olive test is the smell. The smell should be bright and a little fruity. For regular olive oils, the refining process tends to take away the unique flavors and odors of the olives. Producers do this because the olives used in regular oil are more ripe and sometimes of lower quality. 

To do a proper smell test, pour some oil into a clear glass. Cover the glass with one hand. Then, use the warmth of your other hand to slightly warm the oil. Take your hand away and sniff. Extra virgin olive will have a grassy or fruity smell. 

Take the Taste Test 

Taste is the biggest difference between extra virgin and other olive oils. You may not notice it if you are using the oil for cooking. However, for bread dips, dressings, and smoothies, extra virgin oil adds extra flavor.

Testing olive oil by taste is a long tradition in the Mediterranean world. After you have examined the look and smell of the oil, take a small amount in your mouth. Regular olive oils will not have much flavor. Extra virgin oil is known for its peppery taste. Like fine wines, you may notice other taste notes that reflect the region of the oil’s origin.

After the initial taste, it is time to swallow the oil. A slight burning sensation at the back of your throat indicates the oil passes this olive oil test. You may even find that you cough once or twice. This is a natural reaction and a sign of purity.  And now, you know how to test olive oil like a pro!

The Importance of Using the Purest Oil

At Oliventures, we want people to experience the many health benefits of olive oil polyphenols. Our anti-inflammatory products are produced naturally using the purest olive oil. Contact us today to learn about our polyphenol supplements and unique olive oils, and be sure to browse our website to get your hands on a bottle or two of the finest and purest extra virgin olive oils on the market!