Determining where your oil came from or if it’s pure isn’t always easy, especially as fraud continues to soar throughout the edible oil industry. Avocado oil falls victim to this fraud because a) well, who doesn’t love avocados and everything they bring to the table? And b) avocados aren’t cheap!
Extra virgin avocado oil is particularly at risk for adulteration and mislabeling. The term “extra virgin” actually refers to the oil’s grade. Extra virgin is the highest grade that any oil can acquire as it’s considered “first pressed,” is exposed to minimal heat during the pressing process, and is made from the highest quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds.
With a lack of standards in the industry, there is no policing of extra virgin avocado oil or protection of consumers from being cheated into purchasing inferior oil. Fortunately, there are a few key characteristics of authentic extra virgin avocado oil to look out for to keep yourself safe from potential health hazards and satisfied with your purchase:
- Color: Avocados are green, so extra virgin avocado oil should be too! Each batch of this oil is unique and specific colors can range from earthy green to emerald green, but extra virgin will always be green. If you happen to come across an avocado oil labeled “extra virgin” that’s yellow or clear, it’s more than likely another type of refined oil. If the oil is brown with no sign of green, it’s likely rancid.
- Taste: When considering an extra virgin oil’s taste profile, you always want to remember that it should obtain similar characteristics of the raw product it came from. In the case of extra virgin avocado oil, it should taste distinctly like avocado with a possible hint of grassiness. If your avocado oil is neutral in flavor, it’s simply not extra virgin (and maybe not even avocado oil).
- Best-by Date: Because extra virgin oils are minimally processed, they should have a fairly short shelf life compared to refined oils. A 1 liter bottle with a three year shelf life can be tempting but it’s not realistic. At AvoPacific, we have concluded that a shelf life of 18 months is the most realistic for optimal freshness.
- Price Point: Extra virgin avocado oil is a premium product derived purely from high quality avocados (about 15-20 per bottle to be exact). While it might seem steep at first glance, spending a little more than you’re used to is worth it for a premium oil with incredible health benefits.