Extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first cold pressing, or extraction, of oil from olives.
No heat or chemicals are used in the process because they could damage or alter its complex aroma and flavor. Other characteristics that define extra-virgin olive oil include:
Low acidity To be labeled “extra virgin,” the oil must be low in acid, 0.8% or less.
Range of tastes Flavors vary, including light, fruity, grassy, nutty or spicy.
Varying colors Color ranges from pale gold to dark green. Variations are due to the type of olive, the growing region, when the olives were harvested and weather conditions. Color has nothing to do with quality.
KEEP IT FRESH
Light, heat and air can damage extra-virgin olive oil, so get in the habit of using and enjoying it rather than saving it for a special dish. You can prolong freshness with proper storage.
--Keep oil in a dark, cool cupboard, not on a countertop.
--Don’t store it in a cupboard that’s next to the stove.
--You can keep it in the refrigerator, but it will turn cloudy and thick. Bring it to room temperature before using.
--If you buy larger bottles of oil, keep some empty smaller containers on hand. As you use up the larger bottle, pour the remaining oil into smaller bottles to minimize air space.