Extra virgin olive oil is known as one of the healthiest plant-based fats. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry.
Whenever there is money to be made, you can expect corruption to follow.
That is why you should never believe a bottle simply by its label.
Unfortunately, the chances are that you’ve probably already purchased fake olive oil.
In many cases, companies have been found to “cut” true olive oil with cheaper oils. This leads to varying smoking points and a loss of health benefits.
In a 2010 UC Davis study, more than two-thirds of common brands of extra virgin olive oil studied were found to not meet the international and U.S. standards.
How to avoid buying fake oil:
- Look for the USDA “Quality Monitored” seal.
- Look for the International Olive Council (IOC) label of authenticity.
- Buy USDA grade organic.
And then there is….
The ignition test:
Extra-virgin olive oil is flammable and can keep an oil lamp burning. If your oil cannot keep a oil lamp burning, or it lights and yields a black smoke, then it is probably not extra virgin olive oil.
This is not conclusive, but it is a fun test to do with the kids.
If you don’t have a real oil lamp, or even you do, try making an “oil lamp” out of an orange.
Slice in the center all the way around the orange. *Be sure to only cut in as far as the pith.*
Peel the orange. The easiest way to do this is to identify the stem end of the orange and peel the opposite side first. Gently peel the stem side, where you will locate the “wick.”
Add about 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and allow it to soak into the “wick” for about 3 minutes.
Light the candle. Using matches, it may take a few (even several) attempts to get the orange wick “light-able.” It is easier to use an automatic lighter if you have one.
If after a few attempts, the orange still will not light, or if it does light and is giving off a dark smoke, then you have probably just discovered some fake oil in your pantry! Try again with a different extra virgin olive oil.