Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Best Way to Know it's REAL

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/09/2024

With so many options to choose from when it comes to olive oil, it can be hard to understand which one you should select.

Learn about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil and how to find authentic, real bottles of it.

Unmasking the Olive Oil Market

Approximately 80% of the olive oil sold is fake or low-quality. Fake olive oil is often diluted with other oils like canola oil and may contain solvents and preservatives.

The Taste Test for Authenticity

When it comes to natural extra virgin olive oil, your taste buds don't lie. A distinct taste can be detected in extra virgin olive oil, consisting of fruity, piquant, acrid, and somewhat grassy notes.

Bottle of pure olive oil

The Role of Oleocanthal in Olive Oil

Ever experienced a slight tickle or cough after savoring this liquid gold? Don't worry - that's just oleocanthal doing its job.

This phytonutrient found in genuine extra virgin olive oil contributes to the characteristic peppery kick and provides impressive health benefits.

Oleocanthal serves as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound.

Next time you take a sip of olive oil and feel that slight tickle in your throat, congratulate yourself - you've probably just enjoyed the real thing. You've likely hit upon an authentic extra virgin.

Packaging Matters

When hunting for genuine extra virgin olive oil, don't overlook the importance of packaging. Real-deal olive oils are typically housed in glass containers rather than plastic ones.

This isn't just a fancy marketing ploy. Glass is not as absorbent and provides more defense than plastic, which helps to keep out light and heat that can eventually harm the quality of the oil. Plus, it doesn’t leach any chemicals into your olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil packed in dark-colored or UV-coated bottles gets bonus points since they provide additional protection against light exposure if your bottle has a pour spout or cap that closes tightly to prevent air from getting inside, even better.

The Plastic Problem

Storing food products like olive oil in plastic can be hazardous, particularly when exposed to high temperatures during storage or transport.

Run if you see "extra virgin" labels on clear plastic bottles basking under bright store lights. They may seem convenient, but remember: good things come in small (glass) packages for authentic EVOO.

Price Point Indicators

Beware of low prices when seeking out genuine extra virgin olive oil. Quality oils usually fall within the $10 to $40 range per bottle. Bargain buys often mean inferior quality or outright fakes.

Extra virgin olive oil production isn’t cheap. From hand-picking olives to cold pressing them within hours of harvest, every step in crafting authentic EVOO requires time and effort.

Decoding Labels for Authenticity

The hunt for natural extra virgin olive oil starts with understanding labels. If you know where to look, you'll find a wealth of information.

Importance of Harvest Dates

A bottle's harvest date reveals the freshness of the product. Genuine producers display the date proudly on their bottles.

If your bottle doesn't have a harvest date, that could indicate something suspicious. Natural extra virgin olive oil should always come labeled with one.

Understanding Olive Varieties and Production Process

Olive variety plays an essential role in taste and quality, too. More reliable brands give details about which olives were used.

Production methods matter as well. Traditional cold pressing retains maximum flavor and health benefits, so look out for these words on the label.

Selection of different essential oils

Olive Oil vs Other Oils

When comparing olive oil to other oils, the choice often comes down to specific dietary and culinary preferences.

Olive oil is renowned for its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, making it a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. Its rich, fruity flavor adds depth to salads, sautés, and marinades.

Additionally, extra virgin olive oil contains beneficial antioxidants, making it a preferred choice for those seeking health benefits beyond pure cooking functionality.

On the other hand, when discussing "butter vs. coconut oil," a different set of considerations emerges. Coconut oil, derived from coconuts, is high in saturated fats, primarily composed of medium-chain fatty acids.

This unique composition grants it a higher smoke point, making it suitable for various cooking methods, from stir-frying to baking. Coconut oil has gained popularity in ketogenic and paleo diets due to its potential health benefits.

In summary, choosing olive oil and other oils depends on your culinary requirements and nutritional goals.


The olive oil market can be daunting, with many products being fake or of low quality. However, understanding the characteristics of authentic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can help consumers make better choices.

Authentic EVOO is recognized by its distinct taste, containing fruity, piquant, and slightly bitter notes, along with the presence of oleocanthal, a beneficial phytonutrient.

Packaging in glass containers, labeled harvest dates, and details about olive varieties and production methods are key indicators of quality.

While price can hint at authenticity, consumers should remain cautious of overly cheap options. In terms of dietary preferences, olive oil's heart-healthy fats and antioxidants make it a versatile and beneficial choice.

By prioritizing authenticity and quality, consumers can confidently select EVOO, enriching their culinary experiences and supporting their health.

Supporting Data




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