So, you cannot think of preparing your meal with any other type of oil than olive oil. But are you sure you know everything there is to know about your favourite cooking oil?
Oil was once considered bad for the skin and health, but this is a myth that olive oil helped to debunk. The oil has many hidden secrets that make it more than a savoury addition to salad dressings. Extra virgin olive oil is the best variety out there. It is unrefined and is the highest quality variety of olive oil. Being unrefined means it does not undergo the treatment process that involves the use of heat or chemicals. Therefore, its production process is the key to retaining its olive flavour.
Of the elements that constitute the olive oil, oleic acid is around one per cent, yet it is the primary compound that gives the oil that rich colour and strong taste. Aside from this, below are nine amazing facts about this pantry staple that are worth knowing, in case you need any more reasons to consider adopting an olive tree.
1. Olive oil is not made from the olive seed
The oil is extracted from ripe olive fruits through a mechanical pressing process. It is not made from the seed but the fruit, which makes it unique compared to most other oils that are extracted from seeds.
2. Extra-virgin olive oil does freeze solid
It is a test that does not help much regarding the debunking whether olive oil is real or a myth (QUERY: reword syntax to make meaning clearer); this is because many liquids (oils) will freeze under certain temperatures, and some even mimic that of the olive oil. Therefore, olive oil does freeze, but at what temperatures is a matter governed by the oleic acid levels in the oil.
3. Olive oils are safe to use even when they appear cloudy
Do not throw away the oil when it gets murky. Such an occurrence can be attributed to the presence of pulp and sediment in the oil. It can also be due to chilling temperatures that make the olive oil cold, thus giving it that cloudy appearance. You should not be worried about sediment either; this is mostly pieces of olive that managed to pass during the filtration stage; they add to the oil’s flavour.
4. Light olive oil is not lower in calories
Do not confuse the reference ‘light oil’ to be an indicator of the calorie count in the product. It refers to the extra virgin olive oil in ratio to the refined olive oil; the former is the key to the oil’s characteristic taste.
5. Olive oil comes in different colours
Olive oil is available in a range of colours and the hue changes over time as the oil oxidises. In its natural state, olive oil can be pale yellow in colour, green, or have a deep golden hue. The amount of chlorophyll present determines how green the oil will be. And the greener the product the higher its antioxidant content and it will have a great peppery flavour – and taste slightly bitter.
6. You can fry with olive oil
Olive oil is said to have a low smoke point compared to other choices used for fryings, such as corn and peanut oil. Some people will not advocate for the use of olive oil because it releases toxic compounds once it reaches the smoke point. However, you can do your deep frying with refined olive oil since the oil’s smoke point is at 486 degrees Fahrenheit. Please do remember not to use extra-virgin olive oil for frying because it has a low smoke point.
7. Oxygen, light, and heat are the enemy
You should always store the product in a dark, cool place, away from direct heat and light. It will help reduce the oxidation rate and thus prevent the oil from becoming rancid within a short time.
8. Spain is the highest producer of olive oil
The Mediterranean region is the world’s leader in olive oil production with Spain leading the park at fifty per cent of ninety-eight per cent of the supply from the Mediterranean. Italy is second with a production capacity of fifteen per cent.
9. Greeks consume the most olive oil
On average, the Greeks consume over five gallons of olive oil yearly, per person. It is an amount that significantly surpasses that of the United States, which is at just over a litre per person.