Olive oil is one of the healthiest and low-in-calories fat!
Since ancient times the olive tree has evoked the admiration and adoration. The extract from its fruit – olive oil- is millennial symbol of health, longevity and beauty, legendary ancient Greek poet Homer called it “liquid gold.”
It has been shown that correct consumption of good quality olive oil protects against a number of diseases of the cardiovascular system, digestive tract, and reduces the risk of cancer. It is also used as a remedy for burn treatment, stomach cleansing, tired legs, to reduce high blood pressure, against colic, insect bites, to lower the risk of coronary artery disease, against constipation, kidney pains, corns, and as a laxative.
Often we see several different words on the olive oil labels- what do they mean and what should you consider before you head to the checkout.
Classification of olive oil:
Extra Virgin – is an extract of the highest quality derived from the pressing of the olives, using only mechanical means. Prepared from the first cold extraction process at a temperature not higher than 80.6F and contains no refined oil.
Virgin – product of the secondary cold pressing process of the olive pulp after the Extra virgin olive oil has been extracted. Virgin oil is too not refined and chemically pure product, but with slightly higher levels of acid (3%).
Olive Oil – or the so-called Plain olive oil, it is a mixture of refined oil and Extra virgin.
Pomace – it is a low-quality extract with olive aroma and has the lowest content of polyphenols. Obtained by refining residues from the cold pressing of the olive, its qualities and content of useful components is incomparable to extra virgin olive oil. This is due to the high heat used during the process of extraction which destroys almost all of the valuable properties.
Quality olive oil is cold pressed (Extra Virgin), containing 10% linoleic and 80% oleic acid. It is rich in vitamins A, E and D, phosphorus, iron. Oleic acid reduces bad cholesterol and increases the good one. Extra virgin olive oil is 100% absorbed by the body (compared to sunflower oil which is absorbed by 83% and sesame – 57%).
One liter of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted from about 176 oz olives.
Which oil to choose and how to use it:
Frying or sautéing – plain olive oil
Salad dressing or marinade – extra virgin or virgin olive oil.
Raw dishes and toppings- Extra virgin is the perfect option for direct consumption without heat treatment. It has kept all its useful biological properties. You may drizzle your salad, toast, biscuits or cooked vegetables; mix it with lemon juice or use it as an ingredient in sauces. This oil is suitable for light meals. Can be added on already cooked meat, fish, and eggs, too.
When cooking, should not heat the oil too much as olive oil has a low boiling point.
Prepare your own aromatic olive oil:
-Soak in a bottle of olive oil sprigs of rosemary or thyme, salvia (sage), oregano or small chilies. Keep in dark and cool place within your kitchen and use on any dish you find suitable.
-Put 2-3 sticks of cinnamon in the bottle of your oilive oil and let it soak in for few days. Then you can use the liquid in hair masks, as a body lotion or when preparing sweet bakes.
Contains no sodium and cholesterol (due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids).
Especially rich in linoleic and oleic acid, vitamin E, phosphorus, iron.
Indicators of the quality of olive oil:
Natural taste of olive oil is rich, strong, can be bitter, sweet, salty and sour. The color of olive oil varies from light gold to dark green. The color of olive oil depends on the olive variety, and the method of extraction and storage. Level of acidity means is the content of oleic acid in 100 grams of the product. The lower is the natural acidity of virgin olive oil, the higher the quality. Each type of oil has a level of acidity. Acidity of Extra Virgin olive oil should not exceed 1% of Virgin olive oil – 2% of refined olive oil – no more than 1.5%.
How to test for oil naturalness home:
Put olive oil in the refrigerator for two to three days. If oil appears white precipitate, you made the right choice. When stored at room temperature, the oil will return its initial transparency, and you can enjoy the natural taste of the “liquid gold” however you wish.