As most of you probably know, olive oil is very good for you due to its polyphenols and antioxidants, has been used for thousands of years, and is part of a healthy diet. I suggest trying to find a good source of pure extra virgin olive oil as part of your lifestyle. Purchasing an inexpensive bottle of olive oil from your typical grocery store may not be as beneficial as you think.
We get our olive oil directly from an agriturismo we stayed at last year in Tuscany. They grow their own olives and press their own organic olive oil. We know these people and this is as much “old-world style” as you can get nowadays, short of having your Italian great-grandma hand-pressing your olives…
First of all, olive oil is better stored in a dark bottle. Otherwise, even a high quality olive oil’s taste and health benefits will diminish as light damages the oil. If you do buy your olive oil in a clear bottle, at least try to store it in a dark part of your pantry, or keep it in an opaque or dark bottle at home.
You may or may not be aware that there are frauds and conspiracies pertaining to olive oil manufacturing. Italy and other olive oil producing countries are aware that the pure oil is in high demand, especially by Americans, and is big business. There has been fraudulent activity where manufacturers substitute or dilute this high quality oil with canola, soybean, or sunflower oil and color it with chlorophyll to give it that olive oil color. Even a quick read on Wikipedia can tell you that we need to be careful with our olive oil purchases, if we’re relying on it for healthy eating. To read more about this, check out this New Yorker article or this NPR interview.
As the Wikipedia article states at the bottom, there are a couple home tests that one can perform to “test” the purity of your olive oil. The easiest one seems to be to put it in your fridge, and see if the oil becomes thicker or more viscous after a while. If it doesn’t, I would become suspicious and shop around for a better olive oil.