Extra Light Olive Oil indicates Color Not Caloric Content.
Extra Light Olive Oil
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Extra Light Olive Oil (also labeled as just "Light Olive Oil") is an Olive Oil that results from the the last pressing of the olives. It has a light, mild flavor, but is really named for its light color. 

Season

See Smart Kitchen's Resource on Olives to learn about Olives' seasonality.

Cultivation

See Smart Kitchen's Resource on Olives to learn about cultivating Olives. 

Production

Extra Light Olive Oil results from the last mechanical pressing of the Olives. As such it has a lighter color and more mild flavor.

Purchasing

Remember that Olives are Fruits. The Olive Oil is akin to their juice. With juice and Olive Oils, fresher and less adulterated is better.

When purchasing Light Olive Oil or Extra Light Olive Oil (essentially the same thing), check these items first.

1. Best by Date. Look at the bottles "Best Buy Date." Most Light Olive Oils should have a shelf life of at least two years. How far away is the expiration of that period on the bottle you are considering? Better products may even have a "Date of Harvest." Do the math and find the freshest bottle. 

2. Country of Origin.  Does the bottle have a tag naming the Olive Mill and country where the product was grown? Proud manufacturers trumpet their credentials. Less proud manufacturers play games. By the way, "Packed in Italy" or "Bottled in Italy" may not mean that the olives were grown in Italy, or that they were pressed in Italy. It only means that the bottles were filled there.   

3. Acidity. Light Olive Oil can have up to 3% acidity. Look at the nutrition label and seek out brands with the lowest amount of acid. 

4. Dark Bottle. Most Light Olive Oils that we have seen come in a clear glass bottle to show off the lighter color of the oil. Darker glass would be better because these light oils are still subject to being broken down by the sun or light in general. Dark glass helps prevent the problem. 

5. Color. There is no one specific, light color. Light or Extra Light can mean straw-colored or golden or light green. The differences occur naturally because olives (and Olive Oil) come in various shades.

Storage

Oxygen, heat, light and time cause Olive Oil to Oxidize and become Rancid.

Oils should be tightly capped and kept in a cool dark place. Olive Oils, which are a Monounsaturated Oil, are less susceptible to going rancid than Polyunsaturated Oils due to temperature. Light is still a risk though, so dark colored bottles are helpful in protecting the Extra Light Olive Oil from light which will cause them to break down.  

If you do refrigerate your Extra Light Olive Oil it may become semi-solid in the cold. Just let it sit for 15-20 minutes at room temperature and it will return to liquid form. Extra Light Olive Oil should keep 6 months to a year in the refrigerator.

If over time, your oil gets “sticky” or has off flavors dispose of it. It has gone bad. 

Culinary Uses

Extra Light Olive Oil has a mild flavor and light color. Extra Light Olive Oil is useful for High Heat and has a Smoke Point of 468°F (242°C), a Flash Point of 600°F (315°C) and a Fire Point of 700°F (371°C). 

Extra Light Olive Oil is used for Sautés, Stir-Frys, cooking, Salad Dressings and Margarines

Pairings

AlmondsPecansHerbsRosemaryThymeOreganoSageSaltPepperSpicesMeatsPoultryChickenBeef, Pork, Fish, Eggs, Vegetables, GarlicMustard GreensPotatoesOnionsOlivesTomatoesSoupsSaucesDressingsVinegarsBeans, Cheese, Pasta, Bread

Nutrition

The most important thing to understand about Extra Light Olive Oil (also known as Light Olive Oil) is that it is not a reduced calorie Olive Oil. In the case of Extra Light Olive Oil, the word "Light" refers to the color and to a lesser extend the taste. 

That being said, because they all come from Olives, all Olive Oils have essentially the same fat breakdown. Olive Oil is a Monounsaturated oil. It is 14% Saturated Fat, 73% Monounsaturated Fat, and 11% Polyunsaturated Fat.

If you are comparing Oils, switching to Olive Oil can help with cholesterol but it won't have as many Antioxidants because its Polyunsaturated Fat is so low. 

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

No

Low Calorie

No