But one chef and cookbook author, Samin Nosrat, has shared great tips for finding an everyday olive oil in her new book Salt Fat Acid Heat ― and you’re going to love one of those tips, in particular.
According to Nosrat, one of the best-tasting olive oils you can get for your money comes from Costco. It’s Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and a 2-liter bottle retails for $21.49. (It’s also available on Amazon for a dollar more.)
That’s a lot of olive oil for a very reasonable price. Nosrat informs readers that Kirkland’s olive oil “regularly scores well on independent administered quality analyses.” And that’s good enough for us.
How to find a great olive oil
To really find an everyday olive oil that’s right for you, Nosrat recommends using your taste buds. Taste, not price, she says is the most important factor. An olive oil that tastes good to one person might not taste good to another. Whether you like fruity, pungent, spicy or bright is up to you, but just make sure your oil isn’t bitter or rancid. That’s the mark of a bad one.
Another thing to look for is 100 percent California or Italian olives, because it takes quality olives to make good olive oil. Labels like “Packed in Italy” or “Made in Italy” don’t guarantee anything, because the olives could have come from anywhere in the world.
And pay attention to the production date. Olive oil will start to go rancid about 12 to 14 months after being pressed, says Nosrat.
How to store and use great olive oil
Once you get your hands on one you like, make sure you store it properly. Light causes olive oil to go bad, so store it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or in a dark glass bottle.
Nosrat recommends having one bottle of olive oil that’s designated for everyday, general cooking use ― this one should have a more mild flavor that won’t compete with other ingredients, but shouldn’t be extra-virgin since you’ll be cooking with it ― and a finishing olive oil to be used when you want the flavor of the olive oil to stand out, to be used in salad dressings or salsas (extra virgin is good here).