The Complete Guide to Olive Oil and Ways to Use It
Olive oil has been used in cooking and health remedies since ancient times, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that we discovered the chemical structure of olive oil.
Did you know that olive oil contains fatty acids (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) similar to those found in fish oil, but without the fishy taste? The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently named extra virgin olive oil as one of the top 10 food trends for 2018, so what are you waiting for? Try these delicious ways to use olive oil in your home!
A Beginner’s Guide to Olive Oil
Many people think that olive oil is only good for cooking. But there are tons of different ways in which you can use it, from your hair to your skin, from your nails to your teeth, as well as its more common uses in food. Here are some tips on how you can put it to work for you.
From hair care, to skin care, all the way down to home cleaning products, olive oil has a whole host of uses beyond simply making your food tastier.
But it’s not just about using it in alternative ways it’s also important that you know what kind of oil you’re buying.
There are several different types of olive oil that you can purchase, depending on how you plan to use it. Extra virgin oil is great for general cooking or adding flavor.
If you want an all-purpose olive oil that has similar characteristics to extra virgin but also a lower price tag, then choose organic light olive oil. There’s also flavored olive oils which add a kick of flavor to your favorite dishes. (Read about: How long can you keep olive oil before it goes bad).
For example, if you’re planning on cooking with your oil, then you should definitely go for extra virgin or organic light oil.
These have a high smoke point which means that they won’t break down as quickly when heated. If you plan on using it as a dressing or dip, then choose an oil with a lower smoke point.
The lower point makes it easier to mix in dressings but means that it will break down more quickly under heat. (Read about: Olive Oil Calories).
You should also plan on how you’re going to store your olive oil. Extra virgin and organic light oil are best stored in a cool, dark place the pantry is usually a great option as long as it’s not too hot or humid.
This type of storage helps ensure that your oil stays fresh for longer. If you use flavored oils, then storing them in your cupboard is a good idea. (Read also: How much olive oil per day).
As long as you keep in mind how you’re going to use your olive oil, then you should have no problem finding a great product.
There are tons of different brands on the market, including several that focus on organic or all-natural products. Check out our guide for more information about choosing your favorite brand.
11 Fascinating Facts about Olive Oil You Probably Didn’t Know
There are hundreds of different types of oil, and they’re all obtained differently. Some are made from fresh olives, while others come from a mix of olives and other fruits or vegetables that have been pressed together.
Each one comes with its own distinct flavor profile, so you may be surprised by how much you enjoy one over another. what you should know about olive oil:
1. The first known use of olive oil was in Mesopotamia around 4,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until around 2,000 years later that it became popular in Greece and Italy. (Read also: Why Dark Chocolate Good For You).
In fact, Romans used it for everything from cooking to bathing! They even used it as a form of currency during their reign between 27 B.C.-476 A.D., which is why we still use terms like liquid gold today when referring to money or wealth!
2. Extra-virgin oil is considered to be superior because it’s extracted using only mechanical means rather than chemicals or heat.
This means there’s no damage done to the fruit at any point during production, resulting in a fresher product with more nutrients and antioxidants intact.
3. Olives grow on trees not bushes and require lots of water and sunlight to thrive!
4. If you’ve ever noticed an oily residue on your glass after pouring yourself some extra-virgin oil, don’t worry: That’s just naturally occurring polyphenols that give extra-virgin olive oils their signature taste and smell!
5. Extra-virgin oil can actually help reduce cholesterol levels, thanks to its monounsaturated fat content.
6. Not all olive oils are created equal, so make sure you do your research before buying a bottle! Check out ratings sites like International Olive Council and California Olive Oil Council to make sure it’s actually extra-virgin grade.
7. Unlike most vegetable oils, olive oil doesn’t contain trans fats! 8. You can get flavored varieties of olive oil too! Try citrus, balsamic, herbaceous basil, or spicy chili varieties for a unique twist on traditional olive oil.
9. When stored properly in a cool dark place, extra-virgin oil will last up to two years! (Read also: Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?)
10. Cooking with it isn’t always necessary; it also makes an excellent addition to homemade salad dressings and marinades!
11. It’s not just good for you; it tastes great too! Try drizzling some over roasted veggies or potatoes, add a dash to homemade hummus, or toss in a dash when making pasta sauce.
What Are the Benefits of Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Virgin oil is derived from fresh olives while extra virgin oil comes from riper olives that have been pressed.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) tends to be more expensive, but it has been shown in studies to have numerous health benefits.
EVOO contains antioxidants and polyphenols which are known to protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
There are many ways you can incorporate EVOO into your diet including drizzling it over salads or using it as a dipping sauce for breadsticks.
There are also numerous cooking uses for oil. Although it’s typically too strong to be used as a main oil in dishes, it can be blended with other oils or butter to add flavor.
If you enjoy baking, there are many ways you can incorporate EVOO into your recipes.
You can use it in place of vegetable oil when making homemade mayonnaise or in combination with honey when roasting vegetables.
What Are Some Unusual Uses for Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
In addition to its uses in cooking, olive oil is frequently used in beauty products. There are many ingredients that can be incorporated into homemade facial cleansers including avocado, honey and egg yolks.
Coconut oil has also become popular in homemade products such as soaps, bath bombs and shampoos.
Which Kinds of Olive Oils are Best to Cook With?
All olive oils are healthy, but some are better suited for cooking than others. In fact, extra-virgin oil (EVOO) is best saved for cold dishes like salad dressings and vinaigrettes and even then, it should be used in small amounts.
This is because EVOO has a low smoke point (about 375°F). In other words, when heated too much, it can start smoking or even catch fire.
Also, because it’s made from a single varietal of olives (as opposed to blended oils), EVOO has a fairly narrow flavor profile, which can overpower most dishes.
A better choice for high-heat cooking is pure oil also called pure or light oil, which is more stable than EVOO at higher temperatures. Read On: Cilantro Taqueria’s New Delivery Menu is a Door-to-Dish Masterpiece
In addition, there are a couple of other important things to know about extra-virgin oil: Although it’s packed with antioxidants, it also contains small amounts of polyphenols.
If you’re sensitive or allergic to polyphenols, you may experience a burning sensation in your throat or mouth when you consume EVOO. (Read about: Blueberries).
Also, because it is made from first-pressing olives as opposed to blended oils, EVOO has a fairly narrow flavor profile.
The last thing you want is for your food to taste like it, right? To avert that from happening, use a pure olive oil with a higher smoke point for cooking. This way, your dishes will retain their natural flavors and aromas.