ASK DAVE: The Price of Oil

Posted on December 31, 2011 by



Dear Dave,

A few  months back my husband bought a case of organic ‘light’ olive oil at a low price.  The issue is that it tastes terrible!  He insists that light oil is the best for cooking but I cant get over the rancid taste.  My question is does olive oil go rancid, and what do all the types mean – virgin, extra virgin, and light?

Rancid in Idaho

Dear Rancid,

The first answer is yes – olive oil can become rancid.  Many people have not experienced this as they may have only used refined oil which can last much longer than the somewhat delicate Extra Virgin oil.  If your oil doesn’t have a ‘use-by’ date – or if the date gives you enough time to grow your own olive tree – be suspicious!

Light olive oil is highly processed; it normally is made of very low quality olives which produces a low quality oil; it needs to be heated & ‘deodorized’ before bottling.  Virgin oil means it was processed without chemicals.  Extra virgin is an indication of quality; but buyer beware!!!  There are few widely accepted standards to define EVO and it has been widely abused – for instance cutting a small amount of EVO with soybean oil and adding chlorophyl for color is a standard practice.

I suggest the only olive oil worth buying is EVO; but you need to confirm its quality.  You can do this with your eyes and nose.  As always READ THE LABEL; the oil should have a single, traceable source; not multiple countries.  Once purchased the smell of the oil should be pleasant and abundant.  I know that you may be hesitant to buy before you try….start with one bottle and tell your hubby to leave the cases on the shelf!

Heres a start:  They are a family farm in California and they know what they are doing.

Always fresh, never rancid…


Posted in: Ask Dave