Olive oil is one of those products in the grocery store that can be overwhelming to choose from – and these tips will hopefully make it easier!
When you’re staring down the floor-to-ceiling wall of olive oils in any grocery store, follow these tips to buy the best olive oil you can. In terms of both flavor and health, this is what to look out for!
Dark bottles – One of the biggest enemies of olive oil? Light! Too much light and heat can make olive oil go rancid, so a good rule of thumb is to buy olive oil in darker glass bottles, or even opaque tins and ceramic jars. Some great olive oils (like Paesano!) DO come in clear glass jars, but in that case, make sure they aren’t in an overly bright or hot environment.
No plastic – There are too many variables with plastic that can make it unsuitable for olive oil. For example, if plastic is in a hot environment, it can start to degrade and taint the oil inside. Additionally, olive oil stored in plastic will generally oxidize faster than it will in glass, which can make it go bad more quickly.
Fresh is best – Sometimes, people don’t think of olive oil as a perishable food item. Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age! As a matter of fact, in the most perfect conditions, olive oil will only stay good for up to 2 years – and chances are, it will be exposed to light or warmer temperatures that mean it should be swapped out long before that. If you’re anything like us and go through olive oil like crazy, you have nothing to worry about! But because of this, you should always be checking the date on your oil before buying to ensure you’re getting the freshest product possible.
Look for location – Have you ever bought a product that was named something Italian, but upon further investigation, it wasn’t made anywhere near Italy? This is a common misleading tactic with olive oil, and you should always check out where the bottle was made – for more reasons than just being misled! For example, a “Mediterranean blend” of olive oil can have olives coming from multiple different countries, which is not ideal. Rule of thumb – the more countries the olives are coming from, the lower the quality of the oil.
Don’t fall for high prices – the most expensive oil in the grocery store is not necessarily the best one! Do your research, follow these tips, and check out our favorite picks below, and you’ll be on the road to a new standby favorite bottle in no time.
Now, for some of our favorite olive oil picks to keep things simple!
Every day: These are Giada’s favorite oils for day-to-day use: roasting vegetables, pan-frying meat, and basic everyday cooking. These are more mild oils that can withstand higher heat for versatility. Don’t worry about anyone saying that extra virgin olive oil isn’t suitable to cook with – it’s completely stable up to over 400 degrees F. That, and Italians have been cooking with it for hundreds of years!
Finishing oil: Generally, finishing oils are more expensive, stronger in flavor, and often unfiltered. Because their flavor is so prominent, these oils are reserved for finishing dishes – whether that be on a salad, a drizzle over polenta or risotto, for dipping crusty bread into, or even over some gelato.