What is “extra virgin”? Extra Virgin basically means that there is less than 1 percent oleic acid in the oil and that means that the olives were pressed before they started to deteriorate. “Virgin” oil is cold-processed and produced solely by the mechanical crushing of the whole olive and its pit.
There are no chemical solvents or other extraction techniques used.
The preferred way of using extra virgin olive oil is to drizzle it on the food of choice at the table.
Here are some items that scream for virgin oil:
Prosciutto, Tomatoes, Grilled Steak, Pasta, Parmigiano-Reggiano,
Grilled Fish, Soups, Roasted Red Peppers, Rustic Bread
Here are some virgin oil rules to live by:
- Olive oil is perishable and sensitive to heat, light and air.
- Once opened, it should be used as soon as possible (within 2 months).
- Always check the “use by” date on the label. Virgin Oil will not improve with time, so old expensive oil will not be worth the price.
- You get what you pay for, so if you want great flavor then go for the few extra dollars.
My mother would always wait for the local supermarket to run their virgin oil sale. There was a limit of two gallons per customer, so Mom and I would line up at separate registers with two cans each, put those in the car and then go back for more. She would buy enough for the year. She told me that unopened virgin oil would stay fresh for about two years.