If you were used to eating cereal with skim milk for years, you would sure notice if you poured heavy cream on that cereal instead of your routine skim milk. You would find yourself in for quite a rude awakening!
Like every food -- how the milk or cream is produced, what it comes from and any of its further processing all comes together to create unique product traits. These characteristics make each make product taste and feel different from each other even though they all still come from the same raw ingredient.
Olive oil works in this exact same way. Each different grade is produced differently: one grade is the first press, while others are refined or come from a different part of the olive. How the grade is made produces a unique oil, and you can taste and see the difference between each.
Just like in our example about the heavy cream that you wouldn't put in your cereal, you will want to choose the right grade of olive oil for exactly what you are making.
Choosing the right olive oil for your product
What oil should you choose for a product that needs a little kick or some fresh flavor? You should choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which will bring some richness and body to your food. If you look at most sauces and dressings, you will see they often use EVOO. This is because it brings a bit of extra life and olive flavor to the final product.
Now on the other hand, if you need a very light colored oil or something that doesn't have much (if any) flavor, there is one olive oil grade in particular that will be perfect for you to choose. You can think of it as the "skim milk" of olive oil.
This oil I'm referring to is refined olive oil.
Refined Olive oil
Refined Olive Oil is an oil that is produced from virgin olive oil that is later refined by using a high heat and steam process. This refining process removes much of the color and flavor of the final oil.
The consistency of the oil that is left over is quite similar to that of canola or soybean oil. But don't worry, it's still made from 100% olives.
Ideal uses for refined olive oil
Refined olive oil is ideal for any products that are in need of either a light flavor or no flavor at all. It's also ideal for products that need little to no color. Last, this oil also has a naturally high heat tolerance because of the refining process it undergoes.
The following are the most common examples for ideal product use:
- Any products switching from Canola/Soybean to Olive Oil
- Desserts, breads and sweet products
- White or light colored soap
- Light colored food products
- Popcorn or chips (produced at a high heat)
- Fried foods (produced at a high heat)
- Baked foods (produced at a high heat)