Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree-Olea europea- since the word "oleum" means oil in Latin. Extra virgin olive oil has the most delicate flavor and most antioxidant benefits. Olive oil is more healthful than other sources of alimentary fat because of its high content of monounsaturated fat (mainly oleic acid) and polyphenols.
This oil comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:
Considered the best, this oil comes from the first pressing of the olives.
Comes from the second pressing.
Undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining
Undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.
How to Select
Fortunately, it is available throughout the year to satisfy taste buds and promote good health. Since olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat, there are some important purchasing criteria you should follow to ensure buying a better quality product. Look for olive oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light. In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat.
Another term that you may see on a bottle of olive oil is "cold pressed." This term means that minimal heating was used when mechanically processing the olives to make oil. When buying olive oil, it is best to select the extra virgin variety.
· For a really satisfying breakfast, add a tablespoon of olive oil to your morning frittata.
· Dress up your lunch salad with a tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
· Or place your olive oil and vinegar in a small dish and enjoy as a flavoring for a slice of crusty whole grain bread.
· Enhance your dinner vegetables with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a third tablespoon of olive oil.
· Top off your brown rice or pasta. Use extra virgin olive oil in your salad dressings.
· Purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and extra virgin olive oil together to make exceptionally delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season to taste.
· Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over healthy sautéed vegetables before serving.
· Instead of putting the butter dish out on the table, place a small cup of extra virgin olive oil out instead to use on your bread or rolls. For extra flavor, try adding a little Balsamic vinegar or any of your favorite spices to the extra virgin olive oil.
How to Store
Proper storage techniques for olive oil are very important, not only to preserve the delicate taste of the oil, but also to ensure that it does not spoil and become rancid, which will have a negative effect on its nutritional profile. Even though olive oil's monounsaturated fats are more stable and heat-resistant than the polyunsaturated fats that predominate in other oils. Olive oil should be stored properly and used within a few months to ensure its healthy phytonutrients remain intact and available.
Resist the temptation to place your beautiful bottle of olive oil on the windowsill. Light and heat is the enemy of Olive oil. Keep olive oil in a cool and dark place, tightly sealed. Oxygen promotes rancidity. Olive oil is like other oils and can easily go rancid when exposed to air, light or high temperatures.
· Olive oil is more healthful than other sources of alimentary fat because of its high content of monounsaturated fat (mainly oleic acid) and polyphenols
· Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes; it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat; a type of fat that researchers are discovering has excellent health benefits.
· Olive Oil, is known as the Super Food for the Heart by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.
· Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.
· The beneficial health effects of olive oil are its antioxidative properties.
· Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
· Olive oil lowers the risk of colon cancer.