Flavored olive oil is usually olive oil that has been artificially flavored with chemicals or additives to give it a distinct taste and aroma.
Usually the additives mimic natural flavors such as:
- chili peppers
- citrus zest
The options appear to be almost limitless. The flavored OO is then typically used for drizzling and finishing dishes.
How is Flavored Olive Oil Made?
The process begins with regular olive oil (OO), which is not to be confused with extra virgin. Regular OO is the lowest quality of olive oil offered to consumers. It's often used as the base for flavored oil because the flavors and additives can mask any imperfections within the cooking fat.
In addition, since regular OO is highly refined it's less expensive to make and therefore, is much easier to mass produce.
Typically, flavored chemicals or additives are added to the regular OO and mixed together. Then it's bottled and sold to consumers.
Is Flavored Better Than Regular?
No, unfortunately, both products are highly refined. If you're looking for a superior product, extra virgin is the least processed fat within this category and is the best option for both cooking and drizzling over dishes.
How to Use Flavored Olive Oil
These oils can be used as a finishing touch to drizzle over salads, grilled vegetables, pasta, bread, or roasted meats. They can also be used in marinades, dressings, and dipping sauces to add a burst of flavor. They're convenient and fun, however, they are highly processed so that's something to take into consideration when purchasing and consuming this product.
A Healthier Option
If you're looking to reap the health benefits of olive oil, then skip the flavored products and go with a classic EVOO.
If you want to add more flavor to your oils at home we suggest infusing them with garlic. You can simply pour a bit of EVOO into a bowl and add grated garlic. Or you can heat a pan on low, then add the fat then heat the garlic until golden, usually about two minutes. Together these foods can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Learn more about the health benefits.
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