A guide to understanding olive oil | Food and cooking

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Olive oil

There’s a reason olive oil is a favorite eating and cooking oil.

Made from the oil of pressed olives, it’s a relatively healthy fat, full of antioxidants and high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Olive oils are graded by their level of acidity. Here are the different types:

• Extra-virgin is the most prized, and expensive. It’s made from the first cold pressing of the olives, without any additional heat, refining or processing. With an acidity level of no more than 0.8{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed}, it’s generally not used for cooking but rather for dipping, drizzling and salad dressings.

• Ultra premium extra-virgin, a relatively new category of olive oil, is even less acidic (as low as 0.23{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed}) and is considered a finishing oil. It tastes clean and fresh on the palate.

• Virgin olive oil also is cold-pressed and free of refined oils, but it’s more acidic than EVOO (less than 2{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed}) and is a little lighter in taste. It’s also good for drizzling and cooking so long as you’re sauteing or making sauce and not deep frying.

• Pure olive oil (less than 3.3{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} acidity) is a blend of virgin and refined olive oils. It’s got a little bit of flavor and is a good all-purpose oil for frying, cooking, grilling and baking.

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