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How to know which olive oil to use?

When a recipe calls for EVOO, or even EXTRA EXTRA virgin olive oil which do you use?

Some of the lables on the olive oils in the grocery stores state EVOO while others will say best for saute/fryiing and others state for salads and dipping.

So how do I know when the label simply states Extra Virgin Olive Oil. What makes it for frying and what makes it best for raw eatting/use?

Is it color? and sometimes it is canned, (1 gal) how can I know what the color is if tht is the clue.

You can't get a sample taste, and even if I did, I wouldn't know what it was I was tasting for.

So what are your thoughts on using the best oil for the job????


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  1. Personally, I only use extra virgin olive oil in marinades, dressings, or on top of grilled veggies. For frying or sauteeing, I use regular (or light) olive oil. Extra virgin is too expensive to use for frying and you won't taste the difference anyway.

    1. "So what are your thoughts on using the best oil for the job????"

      I've always (20+ years of home cooking) gone with "the higher (and/or longer) the heat, the lower the price" when it comes to olive oil. To my taste buds, it doesn't really matter once the stuff is heated. That being said, I often use inexpensive grocery store EVOO for cooking.
      I save the super (often green, in lovely bottles) $$$ stuff for drizzling on salads or finished dishes.

      1. You can't trust olive oil to be "extra virgin" anyway. There is another thread here on that problem. Recently when I was at the international grocery, I took the advice of the shopkeeper to buy the Amir EVOO, which he said was from Tunisian olives. He seemed reliable enough, so I bought it for cooking, and at only $6 per liter, I don't care much what it is. For salad dressing, I buy smaller bottles, and then it's a matter of taste. You just have to take a chance, and when you find one you like, stick with it.

        1. I buy Trader Joe's Extra Virgin Olive Oil and use it for everything except deep fat frying, when I'm using butter or when I am dressing a salad with a special oil such as walnut, hazelnut or avocado. (Pancakes are the one exception, I use canola or peanut oil for them.)

          1. Quality EVOO should only be used as a finishing oil.

            If you're cooking with olive oil, just use the regular stuff.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              It's hard to find "regular stuff" anymore, at least where I live, presumably because most producers are cheating by blending.

            2. If you're cooking where the flavor of the olive oil will be noticed, choose something either decidedly mild or decidedly tasty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123

                I've started using grapeseed oil for cooking some things, as it contributes little to the flavor.

              2. My very favorite and the absolute best extra-virgin olive oil I have every had is Aldi's store brand. It also happens to the absolute cheapest extra-virgin olive oil I've ever found which is what makes it my overall favorite.

                1. I have never seen "extra extra" on sale or in arecipe and wouldnt know what to do with it.

                  We keep two olive oils. Both extra virgin. One is the supermarket's own brand which we use for cooking and most other general purposes. The other is Zaytoun a brand of Palestinian oil which is mainly organic and FairTrade. More importantly, it is a lovely oil which we use for dressings or just dipping. Occasionally, if we've been on holiday to Mallorca, we'll bring back a bottle of the "Fet a Soller" oil, whoich is another rich oil for dressings.

                  As for how we choose them, well, it's all a matter of tasting them and/or trying. We've been able to sample both the Palestinain and Mallorcan ones, so knew they were what we wanted.

                  As an alternative, we also keep cold pressed "extra virgin" rapeseed oil

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Harters

                    I prefer Canaan Fair Trade olive oil for finnishing, dipping - and then the olive oil that is sold in plastic re-used bottles on the roadways for other usage. However, heads up on Palestinian olive oil is that the olive harvest for this season does not look like it's going to be very good. I doubt that will impact Zaytoun or Canaan prices - but in general through the region here it's not going to be a good yield.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      Thanks for the Zaytoun tip. I think the harvest for the whole Mediterranean region may be poor this year. I was recently in northen Italy where someone told me that the poor harvest was going to badly affect the crop.

                      1. re: Harters

                        The olive harvest will start here in the next month or so. That being said people who work with the trees are not predicting a good yield (regardless about the 1001 other issues with the Palestinian olive harvest). Not historically bad, but just in the cycle of good year/bad year - this will be a bad year.

                        Even though there's lots of excellent olive oil here, I'm completely adicted to the Canaan Rumi olive oil. I was a bottle once as a gift, and that got me.