olive oil
Last Updated : Jul 19,2024

What is olive oil? glossary | benefits | uses | recipes with olive oil |
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What is olive oil?

Olive oil is made by crushing and then pressing olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree - Olea europea – wherein the word "oleum" means oil in Latin. Olive oil is more healthful than other sources of alimentary fat because of its high content of monounsaturated fat (mainly oleic acid) and polyphenols. This oil comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Of these, extra virgin olive oil has the most delicate flavour and highest antioxidant benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil
This olive oil has a darker colour. It is unrefined oil and is of high quality as there are very specific standards the oil has to meet to receive the label "extra-virgin." It has a more prominent flavour of olives as it is less processed. This oil has a low smoke point, which means that at a lower temperature on gas it will burn. So this oil can be used for dressings, dips, garnishes, cold dishes.

How to select olive oil

• Olive oil is available throughout the year, much to the delight of health-watchers.
• Since olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat, look for oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light.
• In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat.
• The extra virgin variety is the best; however, choose a variety based on your cooking methods and requirements.

Culinary Uses of olive oil in Indian Cooking

• Dress up salads with a tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
• Place your olive oil and vinegar in a small dish and enjoy as flavouring for a slice of crusty whole grain bread.
• Enhance your vegetable preparations with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a little olive oil.
• Use olive oil to top off brown rice or pasta.
• Purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and extra virgin olive oil together to make exceptionally delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season to taste.
• Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over healthy sautéed vegetables before serving.
• Instead of putting the butter dish out on the table, place a small cup of extra virgin olive oil to use on your bread or rolls.
• For extra flavour, try adding a little Balsamic vinegar or any of your favourite spices to the extra virgin olive oil.

How to store olive oil

• If olive oil goes rancid, it not only spoils the delicate taste and smell but also affects the nutritional profile. Hence, proper storage is essential.
• Even though olive oil's monounsaturated fats are more stable and heat-resistant than the polyunsaturated fats that predominate in other oils, olive oil should be stored properly and used within a few months to ensure that its healthy phytonutrients remain intact and available.
• Resist the temptation to place your beautiful bottle of olive oil on the window sill. Light and heat are enemies of olive oil. So, store it in a cool and dark place.
• Remember, oxygen promotes rancidity. Hence, store in a tightly sealed bottle.

Health benefits of olive oil

Olive oil is a strong antioxidant and good for heart. Also its has anti inflammation properties. This is one of the healthiest oil you can opt for. It has around 77% of MUFA. Olive oil, especially the extra virgin olive oil, is unrefined oil in its natural state and free of chemicals. Moreover, olive oil also possess polyphenols – a type of antioxidant which protects body cells and maintains heart health as well. Popular in Mediterranean cooking, this oil works best for salad dressings or quick sautéing recipes. They cannot be used for prolonged cooking at high temperatures. Note that its a fat at the end of the day so don't consume too much. Read the super article of  which oil is the healthiest, avoid vegetable oil

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