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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.

            1. It's been refined to remove taste and color.

              Probably made from either olives or even olive oil from Spain and "packaged" in Italy.

              1. It can still be "100% Pure Olive Oil", however not in the same meaning of "pure" that you're probably looking for.

                Pure olive oil, by definition, "...contains around 80% refined oil. Refined oil is commonly made from rancid and oxidized olive oil that has been chemically and thermally treated to eliminate unpleasant flavors and to neutralize the free fatty acid content. Pure olive oil is an inferior, heavily processed oil that does not possess most of the health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil."

                Also: if it actually says 'light tasting' olive oil on the package, that is a good indication that there won't be much flavor or aroma (if any at all).

                1. "Light" olive oil is filtered to reduce/remove the residue of olive flesh that is a natural byproduct of the pressing process. It accomplishes two things: it pretty much neutralizes the flavor AND raises the smoke point. Light olive oil is for cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger flavor and is NOT for cooking. '-)

                  1. after so much controversy about what is and isn't real oo I just wondered if it was real. I like San Giuliano Alghero for every day cooking.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Puffin3

                      Again, I don't know what qualities are important in soap-making but once you've taken the olive out of olive oil does it really even matter whether it comes from olives or not? Is is a marketing issue or is there some hidden property that survives all the filtration and post-extraction processing?

                      1. re: ferret

                        Different oils and fats result in different qualities in the soap. OO adds a firmness to a bar of soap but it's doesn't lather well on it's own so adding a certain percent of say refined coconut oil will give a more 'soapy' soap. Sunflower adds another quality etc etc. Get the percentages of the various oils just right and the result is a beautiful 'soapy' bar that doesn't 'melt' in water like say a bar made using palm oil instead of refined coconut oil.
                        Hope this answers your question.

                        1. re: Puffin3

                          On Chowhound?

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            Well, I've known at least one creature who considered handmade soap a favorite chow. Course he was an always-hungry golden retriever.

                    2. Pomace olive oil is fine for frying roasting, etc. any use where a vegetable oil is called for.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: ospreycove

                        If you can get light olive oil (excellent for cooking) for the same price, why on earth would you choose an oil that is chemically extracted through the use of solvents instead of a traditional olive oil that is extracted by simply pressing the olives?

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          If the label says "light" then it's not simply pressed from olives.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Yes.

                            Light olive oil is super-refined, often using chemicals

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              For ferret and Hamster (and other critters<g>)

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oi...

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                All we are saying is that "Light Olive Oil" is olive oil that has been super refined to rid it of taste and color.

                                "http://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=..."

                                "Difference between extra virgin & pure or light olive oil? EVOO is the naturally extracted juice from fresh olives. Pure or light olive oils have been refined which removes all the flavors and natural antioxidants.

                                "

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  There's a reason you don't see "Light Virgin" olive oil, because it requires more steps than just pressing to get there.

                                  1. re: ferret

                                    Actually, all of the light virgins are dead. Only a few of the heavy ones are still alive.

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      naughty!

                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                        Not when they're virgins!

                                    2. re: ferret

                                      Well, for a more serious answer, the United States is arguably the worst place in the "civilized" world to buy olive oil, virgin or otherwise, because the labels in this country are allowed to lie. BUT... "light" olive oil is sometimes filtered or it can also be "olive oil" from the second pressing of the olives. For example, Cola Vita's "light" olive oil for cooking is their second pressing, according to the label that simply says "olive oil." It's the "residue" of natural olive particles that remain in the oil during the "extra virgin" first pressing that give extra virgin olive oil it's distinct color and flavor, BUT it is also that specific property -- particulates of olive flesh suspended in the oil -- that causes evoo to burn, smoke, and turn bitter when used as a cooking oil. "Olive oil" (as in "light") withstands higher frying temperatures without that consequence, whether filtered or second press. And just to be clear, Cola Vita does not labek thei cooking grade olive oil as "light." They just call it "olive oil."
                                      http://www.colavita.com/store/index.c...