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Aug 7, 2013 10:55 AM

Another olive oil doubt

I just bought a 750ML bottle of 'Light Tasting' olive oil 'Packaged in Italy' from a 'big-box' store here in BC. Price: $4.78.
I just phoned the custom relations number on the bottle and asked if the olive oil was 100% olive oil. She checked out the item and said "The olive oil you purchased is 100% pure olive oil".
The oil is very clear ie no color. No flavor.
How can this be 100% pure olive oil? Am I missing something or what?

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  1. The key here is "light tasting." There is no question that an oil sourced 100% from olives can have little to no color or flavor. Only first pressing oils can be called "virgin" ("extra" virgin is a quality designation relating to the acidity level of the final product). After the first pressing there's still oil left in the olives which requires other extraction techniques. This can still be labeled olive oil because that's where it comes from but may require serious processing to get a usable product. If you filter this oil heavily you get a product with little to no taste or color.

    So what you have is a low-grade olive oil that's had nearly all of the olive's qualities removed. Why you'd want an olive oil that lacks olive qualities is another matter entirely.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      To us in making home made soap.

      1. re: Puffin3

        Again, if your goal is to have olive-sourced oil then you're probably okay but it's essentially the same as generic vegetable oil.

    2. They do the same thing with coconut oil. You can get a "refined" version that has most of the smell and flavor removed.

      1. It's probably pressed from the pressed pressed pressed olives. Not much left I assume. Why bother, spend a little more and get something that has taste.

        2 Replies
        1. re: treb

          I already posted that the oo is for soap making.

          1. re: Puffin3

            I thought this was Chowhound, not Soaphound.

        2. Sure it can be 100% olive oil. Do you think olives are simply discarded after the first pressing even though they can still yield more oil? How wasteful that would be (and no one in a traditional culture would waste such oil - oil is a precious thing in such a culture, even when not first pressed)! This oil is valuable for many uses, and would also be used culinarily for a more neutral oil where a more assertive flavor is not wanted. (It would even be used to cut the boldness of an EVOO in things like salad where using only a bold EVOO would overwhelm the flavor of the primary ingredients - not everyone has signed into the Bigger! Bolder! Flavor! manifesto so beloved of mediocre American TV chefs.)

          "Packaged in Italy" means simply that; the olives themselves are probably sourced and pressed elsewhere in the Mediterranean (and that's no indication of inferiority as such; Italian sourcing and pressing carries a premium price that is far from universally warranted - many of the best olive oils are not from Italy).

          Also, rule of thumb: we would be very lucky to get what we pay for. Generally, we get less. At that price point, there's no ground for complaint.

          1. It's still fine to cook with. It will actually have a higher smoke point than EVOO which you shouldn't cook with anyway.

            It also makes a good moisturizer.