About olive Oil
Olive oil is a fruit oil obtained from the olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin.
Buying oil in small sizes, or splitting larger bottles with friends, is a practical way to buy expensive oils. Oil purchased in bulk should always be poured into smaller containers, preferably in a can or a dark-colored bottle.
Types Of Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: One reason extra virgin olive oil is prized so highly is its high content of vitamins and nutrients. Also, it is pure and without any additives. The fruitiness of its taste and the complexity of its aroma give it universal appeal. The light, delicate consistency of extra virgin olive oil makes it perfect for dressings. It is also the preferred oil for use in cooking by more discerning users.
Virgin Olive Oil: Virgin olive oil also comes from the first pressing, and is also produced without refining. In a technical sense, virgin olive oil may have an acidity level of up to 3.3%, however, industry practice in the producing countries is to maintain under 2% acidity. Its flavour intensity can vary and its taste is less mild than extra virgin olive oil.
Pure Olive Oil: This is now simply called olive oil and is a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. Its label will bear the designation “pure” or “100% pure”. However, refined olive oil has very little vitamin E content. This is why producers need to add unrefined virgin olive oil to impart some of flavour, colour and aroma into the blend. The proportions of the two components may vary from one producer to another, depending on the flavour the producer desires to create.
Pure olive oil actually has the same acidity level as virgin olive oil, and for that reason it has good resistance to high temperatures. Its lower nutrient content than virgin olive oil makes it less expensive. It cannot be used for dressings and is better suited for heavy-duty, high-heat cooking.
Olive Oil Storage
The ideal temperature for storing olive oil is 57°F or 14 degrees C, although a normal room temperature of 70ºF works very well if the olive oil is stored in a dark area where the temperature remains fairly constant. A kitchen cabinet located away from the stove and away from direct sunlight will work quite well. If you have a wine cellar, store your olive oils there and keep a small amount in your kitchen. Do not put olive oil in a container without a tight cap.
Refrigeration does not harm most grades of olive oil, but it is not recommended for expensive extra virgin varieties because condensation may develop in the bottle, affecting the flavor. When chilled, or in cold weather, the oil may turn cloudy and even solidify. Such oil will clear again as it warms, so cloudiness should not be taken as an indication that the oil is past its prime. Be sure bottles are tightly sealed. Refrigeration will extend the life of olive oil without harming the oil. Doing so will cause it to congeal and turn cloudy, but should not affect flavor. If refrigerated, olive oil will return to its original, liquid state when warmed to room temperature again.
Tinted glass, porcelain, or stainless steel are the best materials for containers; oil should never be stored in plastic or in reactive metals. Stay away from plastic containers as the oil can absorb PVCs.
Tips for Cooking with Olive Oil
Marinading fish, meat and poultry with olive oil adds a healthy and pleasant flavor to the food. Baking usually involves lots of fat. So instead of using butter in baking, you can use olive oil to reduce the quantity of fat. The amount of olive oil used should be about 25% less than the normal quantity of butter.
The extra-virgin grade of olive oil is the expensive one. So you can keep it for salads, dressings and vinaigrette. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils cannot maintain their flavor if subjected to high heat. That is why they are the best for uncooked food. They can also be used to harmonize spices in a dish and enhance flavors.
Foods like vinegar, wine, lemon juice, tomatoes, etc. have a high-acid content. Use of olive oil for cooking with such foods balances the acidity. It is a good practice to do a taste test before you decide on a recipe to be cooked with olive oil. Best results are obtained if you can pair up the taste of the oil with other ingredients in the recipe.
Olive oil can also be used for preparing appetizers. Broiled baguette slices can be rubbed with cut cloves or garlic and then drizzled with a few drops of olive oil. Prepare delicious dips by preparing a mix of white beans, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. You can also use your favorite herbs for seasoning.
Cooking with olive oil is an old tradition and the list of recipes using olive oil is an endless one. Using olive oil for cooking does present certain health benefits; however, it is important to remember that olive oil is still a fat. The oil causes no ill effects while it is consumed in limited and required proportions. By far, olive oil is good for your heart and adds great taste to your food!
Olive oil benefits
Therapeutic Effect: Taken internally, olive oil stimulates metabolism, promotes digestion and lubricates mucous membranes. It can also be applied externally to treat dry skin.
Help for the digestive tract: Take 1 tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach to stimulate digestion and relieve upset stomach, flatulence and heartburn.
Olive oil for constipation: In the morning, take 1 teaspoon of olive oil mixed with lemon juice on an empty stomach. Or try an enema made from 5 ounces of olive oil in 20 ounces of boiling water, cooled to lukewarm.
The antioxidant benefit: The vitamin E in olive oil is an antioxidant. In addition, monounsaturated fatty acids are less easily damaged by oxygen than other types of fat. They are therefore less likely to produce free radicals, which damage cell membranes and contribute to several diseases.
To Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels: The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels without affecting HDL ("good") cholesterol or triglyceride levels. To lower your cholesterol at least 15 percent of your daily calories should come frommonounsaturated fatty acids. Whenever possible use olive oil in place of butter or other vegetable oils in cooking, in preparing dressings for salads or vegetables and in making sandwiches.
To Treat Ear Complaints: To clear stopped-up ears, put a few drops of lukewarm olive oil in the affected ear. Lie for 5 minutes on the opposite side, then turn over, so that the olive oil can flow out again. (Do not put any liquid in your ear if you think you may have a perforated eardrum!) For earaches, soak a cotton pad inolive oil, then add 5 drops of lavender oil. Place it loosely in your outer ear until the pain abates.
To Prevent Hair Loss: Massage the scalp with olive oil every evening for eight days. Let it work overnight and wash it out in the morning.
To Moisturize Skin: Apply olive oil daily to dry spots or stretch marks.
Build Strong Fingernails: To help build strong fingernails and soften cuticles, soak your nails each night in a mixture of 3 parts lukewarm olive oil to 1 part freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Put on cloth gloves and let the oil penetrate overnight. Your nails will gradually become more resistant to breaking and chipping.
As you can see olive oil benefits are endless. It's one ingredient that is fun, safe, and expensive to experiment with. I'm sure you can find many of your own safeolive oil health benefits, when you do send your tips to Grandma's Wisdom to share with the world.
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