April 16, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated April 18, 2021
Testing olive oil quality
Olive oil is an essential oil traded all over the world. Most people are fond of the golden liquid thanks to its various benefits and nutritional value.
Most Mediterranean countries and others are producers of olive oil. Though the production is growing, the demand sometimes seems to overwhelm the farmers, all because of the extraordinary benefits of olive oil.
Sometimes to meet the increasing demands and sometimes to mislead, people trading with olive oil might fall into fraudulent behavior.
To counteract acts of fraud, codes and regulations have been put into place. However, it is always necessary to be aware of the risks.
If you are a fan of the field or you simply adore pure olive oil, then keep reading to find out more about the frauds, the authentic, and the worthy. Equip yourself with the necessary tools for testing olive oil quality.
Status quo of the industry:
A Forbes article back in 2016, explains that “much of the extra virgin Italian olive oil flooding the world’s market shelves is neither virgin nor Italian.” Well since Italy produces just 15 percent of the world’s oil and it comes second in the rankings of exporters, the above statement does make sense after all.
Scammers would go the extra mile for a few more cash. Practices usually include offering other plant oils as extra virgin olive oil and adding chemicals and/or a few drops to a low-quality oil.
Diluting the pure olive oil is something quite spread, unfortunately. So, here is a list of the different types available of this oil and their most important characteristics.
Extra virgin: is 100 % pure olive oil extracted through cold pressing, that is to say, using no heat whatsoever. It must also contain zero chemical additives. Its acidity must be at low levels, 0.8 grams per 100 grams as per regulations.
Virgin oil: is extracted the same way as the extra virgin. The difference is that this variety has a higher acidity level. This variety has several classifications, from the edible liquid to the “lampante”, unfit for human consumption.
Refined olive oil: this variety undergoes different processing procedures and is usually mixed with chemical additives useful for the extraction process. It is fit for consumption, but it is definitely not high-quality oil. Most of the time, it gets mixed with some extra virgin oil to enhance its taste and odor.
What to check when you buy:
If you are headed to the market with the intention to buy olive oil then keep in mind these guidelines:
Check the label for the harvest date. It really helps to know when the product at hand was harvested. Oils are generally advised to be consumed at “best before” two years from the date it was bottled. At this time, it preserves the color, the taste, and the aroma. The freshness of the olives can be detected.
Check where does it come from. Every region has a set of specific characteristics when it comes to the difference between olive oil and olive trees. The climate and the soil might affect the quality of the oil. Besides, supply chains importing from regions miles away might be sloppy and might not pay enough attention to the route of their purchases; things might get mixed up somewhere in the middle.
The label should also include the types of olive trees used. Different trees yield different oils. The color, the taste, and even the aroma shift. So if the species is known, it would make it easier to judge the product at hand.
How do you test if olive oil is real?
Sometimes you get deceived, by brands and marketing campaigns and ads, into believing the purity of a certain olive oil brand. If you are not aware of the characteristics of the latter you might never find out the truth or at least not until an expert tells you so. So, how do you test if olive oil is real?
There are a few simple tests to conduct on your own to see whether you bought the authentic oil or you got deceived. The first one is the fridge test. Pour about four to five tablespoons of oil into a glass jar. Seal it and put it in the back of the fridge to avoid moving it around. Leave it for twenty-four hours and then the rest should be obvious. If the oil becomes solid then it is pure olive oil containing only monounsaturated fat. If it remains liquid then you need to visit your grocery and check with them for fraud.
If you know bits about this oil then I think you can judge your products yourself through tasting and smelling. If you are not familiar with these practices keep reading for more hints.
How do you know which olive oil is the best?
It is common knowledge that extra virgin olive oil is the best oil. But if you are offered a number of liquids and asked to choose, how do you know which olive oil is the best? Tasting the liquid would probably be rewarding. Here is what to look for according to the olive oil tasting sheet:
Extra virgin oil has a few distinguishing characteristics. You need to test the flavor, bitterness, and pepperiness.
The olive oil tasting sheet gives you the guidelines for tasting your oil. First of all, you need to look for positive attributes. These include to what extent the oil under scrutiny is fruity, bitter, and peppery.
Oil extracted from unripe green olives is usually characterized by intense flavors. Olives picked at the end of the season yield smoother and fruitier oil. The first is of course fresher and more beneficial.
During the second phase, you will be looking for defects. Check whether or not the oil is rancid, sour, and moldy. The lesser scores you attribute to these on the scale of ten, the better quality your oil is.
Testing olive oil quality is really an easy task if you familiarize yourself with it. Try throwing your own tasting parties and exchange expertise and opinions regarding this golden liquid.