Olive oil is one of the good oils because it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Olive oil can be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life, but the cooler temperatures will make it turn cloudy and the oil may get thicker. However, it will return to its former clearness and consistency once it reaches room temperature again. Olives are crushed or pressed to produce the oil. The different grades of olive oil reflect the different amount of processing involved in producing each grade of oil. The higher quality oils from the first pressing are the healthiest for you.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the result of the first pressing. The acidity level can be no higher than 0.8%. Extra virgin is the least-processed and best-tasting of all the grades of oil.
- Virgin olive oil comes from the second pressing. It is described as having a good taste, although not as flavorful as the extra virgin grade, and must have an acidity level of less than 2%.
- Olive oil, sometimes called pure olive oil, starts with a lower quality virgin olive oil that is refined and filtered. Then a small amount of a higher grade virgin olive oil is added for flavor, although the flavor in this grade of oil is somewhat bland.
- Pomace olive oil is the oil that results when the ground olive pits and flesh are treated with chemical solvents. Although pomace oil is graded for human consumption, it is considered an inferior grade. It is often used in restaurants.
Bellflower — cup and saucer (Campanula medium)