Off late olive oil has gained immense popularity among people in general. It has become a common household name in terms of acquaintance, flavour and how best the product can be used considering its price. As we all know olive oil commonly comes as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, and Pomace Olive Oil.
When the oil is extracted from the olive seeds immediately after been picked and use traditional or mechanical means to extract its juices it is known as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or it’s acronym EVOO which is the purest form of olive oil. This specifically does not involve usage of machines and high temperatures which result in dissipating its antioxidants, omega 3 and omega 6 fats. And when oil is extracted from the residue amalgamated with solvents, other oils compressed under high temperatures using machines pomace olive oil is derived.
There is a lot of debate whether olive oil should be used only as a salad dressing, or a dip to accompany breads? Does cooking with olive oil destroy its nutritional elements? How to ensure its purity?
- Cooking with olive oil?
All this said it is a very wrong notion that olive oil cannot be used for cooking. It’s a wrong belief that it will dissipate its health benefits but only to an extent. Olive Oil has a relatively low smoking point (165 to 190 degree centigrade). It has the ability to retain its nutritional values when used at low temperatures and does not emit toxins but in Indian context where food is mostly prepared at high temperature and by frying, it makes very unhealthy using Extra virgin olive oil with a smoke point of only 160 degrees celsius. Light olive oil, with a smoke point of 238 degrees celsius, can be used to deep fry, but deep frying with olive oil does not make food healthier than frying with other kinds of polyunsaturated oils. Going beyond the smoke point of any kind of oil denatures it.
- As a salad dressing?
It is a common practice to use olive oil as a dressing to ensure that its flavour is intact and to enhance the flavour of the dish. It is also used as an accompaniment to other dishes, again to enrich the taste of the dish.
- As dip to accompany bread?
Olive oil is most common oil for dipping bread. Mix the olive oil with balsamic vinegar topped with few garlic cloves. You can also provide medium heat over the pan to it. Olive oil is a very common ingredient in most of the dipping recipes.
- How Pure is your Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The other concern is, how to judge the purity of the oil. There are many tests that are often touted as precise parameters to ensure the purity of the oil, but they are all flawed and there are no scientific means to check for its purity. The only way to ensure you get the best olive oil is to buy from local artisans or local farmers who are passionate about their produce. But let’s get real, not all of us have a connection with local farmers or artisans who deal with olive seeds.
However, these tips should be able to help you make a better decision.
- For starters look at the package of the product. Olive oil is sensitive to light, so the bottle should be dark, or a metal container, or packed in such a way that it prevents from light penetrating into the bottle.
- Secondly look for the harvest date, and ensure that it was made with the current year harvest.
- And lastly, read the contents printed on the package carefully. Look for things, such as its origin, any kind of authentication such as Italian certification, or the California Olive Oil certification.
Olive Oil Nutrients (1 tbsp=15 ml): 119 calories, 14 gm fat, very low in cholesterol and sodium
Olive Oil Benefits:
Apart from serving as super kitchen staple olive oil can also be used to enhance your beauty starting from hair, skin, nails, and face. You name it and olive oil can be used as a cosmetic substitute, accompanied by other kitchen ingredients in the correct proportion. So say goodbye to all the commercial beauty products which can literally burn your pocket, and soak in the beauty of olive oil.