Olive oil: types and important differences that you should know.

Olive oil , the so-called liquid gold, with excellent benefits and properties to help care for and maintain our health and that is why it is important to know in depth thetypes of olive oiland their differences so that we can choose well this essential star product in the Mediterranean diet.

Olive oil is the juice extracted from the olive and has saturated fats (like most nuts ) of the monounsaturated type (with oleic acid, as in the case of avocado ) that exert a cardioprotective effect and also has phenols ( antioxidants) that can help prevent diabetes and some degenerative diseases.

The variety of the olive, how the olive tree has been cultivated, the olive oil extraction process, its storage and bottling are crucial so that the final product has a higher or lower content of compounds as important for health as phenols and fats. beneficial.

Olive oil can be obtained from the mixture of different varieties of olives (the most common) and in some cases extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO ) is obtained from a single variety of olives.

Olive oil: varieties of olives

There are 4 main varieties of olives and each one has particular qualities that will determine the properties of the oil:

olive oil 1.- Cornicabra olive

With this variety of olive an oil with a higher content of polyphenols is obtained, together with the olives of the picual variety. It has a slight spicy touch, apple aroma, slight almond flavor and a yellow color with greenish tones. The oil of this variety has a high stability to rancidity.

2.- Picual olive

It is the variety that is most cultivated in Spain. It has a slightly bitter and spicy taste and a fruity aroma. It is the oil with the highest oxidative stability, that is, it can better withstand high temperatures and take longer to rancid.

3.- Hojiblanca olive

With these olives an oil with a fruity aroma is obtained, with a sweet taste with a touch of apple and slightly sweet and spicy, leaving an aftertaste reminiscent of almonds. The oil made from the hojiblanca olive has a medium rancidity stability. Its vitamin E (tocopherol) content is high and it also has a good oleic acid content.

4.- Arbequina olive

The oil obtained from this variety of olive is characterized by being fluid, it has a fruity aroma with a touch of almond and apple, little bitterness and spicy. The oil from these olives is the most unstable to oxidation and rancidity. It has a low content in polyphenols, less oleic acid and a high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Olive oil: types and differences

These are the 4 main categories of olive oils that have been established by the International Olive Council :

Olive pomace oil

It is not an oil recommended for consumption due to its low quality. It is obtained from the remains left when making olive oil and is extracted using chemical procedures. To market this oil for human consumption, it must be mixed with virgin olive oil.

Olive oil

This olive oil has been obtained by chemical means, that is, using solvents such as soda. It is an oil that goes through a refining process in which the color, taste and smell are also eliminated. Olive oil is the only one that is obtained by chemical procedures, the rest of the oils (virgin and extra virgin) are extracted by mechanical procedures.

To obtain olive oil, this final product called lampante is mixed  (in a proportion of 80 to 90%) with virgin olive oil (in a 10 to 20%) to provide a little color, flavor and smell.

Virgin olive oil

This type of olive oil, also called olive juice , has been obtained by mechanical means, that is, by pressure or by centrifuging the olives. With this type of method, the biochemical composition of the oil and its nutritional properties are not altered.

The degree of acidity of a virgin olive oil can go up to 2 grams for every 100 grams of product.

Virgin olive oil is a type of oil that has slight defects in terms of its sensory analysis (color, smell, taste, texture). For example, it may have a certain musty, rancid taste, etc.

Extra virgin olive oil

This olive oil or olive juice has been extracted through mechanical means, without using solvents and the quality of the olive is superior to the olives used in the oils mentioned above.

organic extra virgin olive oil The degree of acidity of an extra virgin olive oil must not exceed 0.8 grams per 100 grams of product, the best quality olives are used and it must have special organoleptic conditions, without any type of defect in its smell, taste, color and texture and these parameters make it superior to virgin olive oil.


Organic extra virgin olive oil and cold extraction or first cold pressing

This oil comes from olive trees grown through organic farming , which restricts the use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides during the cultivation of olive trees. Organic extra virgin olive oils must successfully pass strict controls to certify their quality.

The best olives are chosen for the production of this type of extra virgin oils. In the oil mill it has been extracted cold (at less than 27ºC) and therefore it is the variety of virgin oil that preserves its beneficial properties for health the most and best.

The acidity of this oil should not exceed 0.8 grams per 100 grams. Acidity is an objective parameter that measures the quality of the oil, the lower the acidity, the better qualities that oil has, except in the case of pomace oil or olive oil which, being highly processed and extracted with solvents, can have an acidity low but not associated with the quality of the oil.


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