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Ask the Expert: What’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and How Can It Be Used?

Q: What’s extra virgin olive oil, and how can it be used?
A: Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the healthiest, highest-grade olive oil available. During harvest season, the olives are picked and, within hours, delivered to the mill for pressing. The oil is extracted from the olives using natural methods with no heat or solvents. This freshly pressed oil smells and tastes amazing: creamy yet bold. In November and December, you can find it as “olio nuovo.” During the rest of the year, look for California extra virgin olive oil with the most recent year’s harvest date. Regardless of your diet, it’s easy to incorporate this healthy fat into meals; use it in your morning eggs, a frittata, or drizzled on toast; toss potatoes or vegetables with it, along with herbs, and then roast or sauté them; create delicious vinaigrettes by blending EVOO with rich balsamic; enhance marinades with it [or] use a delicate, buttery olive oil for healthier and incredibly moist baked goods.

—Joan Masegian, Owner, More Than Olives, 713 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-933-1650,