Extra virgin olive oil is simply the juice from the olive with no additives. Quality extra virgin olive oils are extracted by crushing the fruit and either pressing or centrifuging the juice (oil) out of the pulp. No chemicals or heat are used in the process. This means that the olive oil retains its health and taste attributes. Extra virgin olive oil is also the only oil in the world that is actually a fruit juice, and unlike other edible oils, it has a wide range of delightful flavours and aromas - from mild or delicate to rich and pungent.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is highest grade of olive oil. It is made simply by pressing the fresh olive fruit and must be free of faults, have fruity character and meet certain chemical tests for acidity. It is also naturally higher in antioxidants and health benefits.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has never been through a refinery and is acknowledged to be the superior oil due to the added benefits of a large range of minor components which may otherwise be eliminated during the refining processes used for lesser quality oils.
A lower grade of olive oil, this is rarely seen on the supermarket shelves by itself. Virgin olive oil is still made the same way as a extra virgin olive oil but during the pressing faults have occurred. The result is a natural product that whilst still edible, lacks the fresh quality and character of extra virgin olive oil.
This category includes 100% olive oil and pure olive oil. These oils were the result of many faults during the initial pressing and have been refined using chemicals, heat and light.
It is fit for human consumption after the oil has been refined where major oxidation components of this low grade product are removed. A small amount of virgin olive oil is then used to give the refined olive oil some flavour and colour.
Pomace is the industry term for the left over waste of the olive (skin, pulp and pit) once you’ve completed your first pressing. Pomace oil is oil residue often extracted using chemical solvents such as hexane. Most discerning chefs and cooks avoid using this oil as it’s banned for human consumption in some parts of Europe.
Light oil is made from oxidized lower quality olives and olive oils. The refining process removes the oxidants which also remove most of the flavor, colour and nearly all the beneficial minor components such as natural antioxidants. Light oil only refers to the oil’s light colour and flavor and NOT the calories in the oil.