When You Should and Shouldn’t Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Extra virgin olive oil is a must in any pantry, and it has so many uses and benefits. Most seasoned cooks already know how to use olive oil, and understand the difference between the different types. However, if you’re still not familiar with the product, it can be easy to make some mistakes and literally ruin a dish when using it the wrong way. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to extra virgin olive oil and when you should and shouldn’t use it.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Not all olive oils are the same, and there are significant differences between “olive oil” and extra virgin olive oil. The main difference is that extra virgin olive oil is unrefined. This is why you’ll instantly notice a difference in colour between extra virgin olive oil and other olive oils.

This also means that non extra virgin olive oil won’t have the same flavour profile. When it comes to extra virgin olive oil, these notes will depend on the brand and will vary based on quality. High end olive oils like GringoCool, for instance, are totally organic and known for their more subtle and rich flavour profiles, while lower grade olive oils may have a more bitter, muddy taste. 

The difference in flavour profiles is one of the main reasons both oils are used in very different applications. Another major difference between the two is when it comes to their smoke point.

What is a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter?

Smoke point is when an oil starts emitting smoke and is basically burning. An oil that will have a lower smoke point, like extra virgin, will start smoking at around 200 degrees Celsius. This means that you won’t be able to use it on high heat, such as when deep frying foods.  Non virgin olive oil, on the other hand, can be used at higher temperatures, but its lack of taste means that it won’t be able to complement dishes and impart flavour like extra olive oil does.

When You Should and Shouldn’t Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil should be used primarily for its flavour. It can sometimes be used for cooking, but only at low temperatures. Extra virgin olive oils are primarily used for sauces, vinaigrettes, and marinades or when creating the bases for soups – like this lovely creamy tomato soup as it will extract the flavour from the onions.

You could also use olive oils as a finishing oil over things like roasted potatoes or pasta. Olive oil can pretty much act as a condiment, and it’s not uncommon in the Mediterranean to see people drizzle olive oil over bread or dip their bread into oil. Olive oil can also be used to start a sofrito, added as a topping on pizza, or drizzled over salads with a splash of lemon juice.

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most essential ingredients everyone should have in their kitchen and know how to use. Make sure that you learn as much as you can about its virtues and integrate it into your recipes.

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