Narsai David Food Report: The Difference Between Olive Oils

(credit: SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— There are so many different kinds of olive oil on the market, but what exactly do phrases like virgin, and extra-virgin olive oil mean?

Extra virgin is oil that must have zero defects from a certified tasting panel. The panel has to actually test it in order for the oil to be named as such. In addition, it cannot have more than 8/10ths of one percent of acidity.

Virgin olive oil can have up to two-percent natural acidity. You can make olive oil from very ripe olives that have turned absolutely black on the tree. From that, you’ll get a pale, golden-colored olive oil that has a buttery character.

For dark-green olive oil, that’s the kind made from under-ripe olives. In fact tiny particles from the olive fruit are what cause that color. Some people find that a little tough to deal with on the first try. It can certainly have a peppery bite to it. This one’s the kind I like to drizzle over salad, or maybe even on marinated eggplant that’s been grilled.

For everyday cooking I like to use the kind made from more mature olives. High heat burns off some of the green that you’ve paid extra money for. Save it to garnish a salad or for some special spicy effects.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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