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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Olive Oil ... some facts and information

Olive oil is probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's mainly made in the Mediterranean, primarily in Italy, Spain and Greece (though countries such as America and Australia also produce it). Much like wine-making, climate, soil and the way the olives are harvested and pressed all have an impact on an oil's character.

Olive oil is assessed on three criteria - fruitiness, bitterness and pepperiness - the flavour, smell and colour can vary radically, both according to its origin, as well as whether it's extra virgin (the finest grade) or not.

Generally speaking, the hotter the country, the more robust the flavour of the oil. It is also possible to flavour olive oil with herbs and spices by steeping them in the oil for ten days or so (though chilli needs far less time).

All year round.

Choose the best:
Extra virgin oil is the most expensive type, and is made from the first cold pressing of the olives. It has a very low acidity rate (under 1%) and is best used for dipping or to dress salads - both because its superior flavour is impaired by heat and because it has a low smoking point.

Virgin olive oil is also a first pressing, but has a slightly higher acidity level (under 2%). It should be used in much the same way as extra virgin, and can also be used to cook Mediterranean dishes to create an authentic flavour (but should not be used for deep frying).

Refined to remove its impurities, and blended to improve flavour, pure olive oil is the cheapest olive oil there is. Its flavour is quite bland, so it's not worth using it on salads, but it's a good all-purpose cooking oil (again, don't deep fry with it).

Oils from Spain tend to be smooth, sweet and fruity, with hints of melon and nuts and very faint bitterness - they're quite versatile.

The flavour of Italian oils varies from region to region. The north produces oils that are mild, slightly nutty, and very good with fish. Oils from the centre of the country are stronger-tasting, with grassy notes. Southern Italy, including Sicily, produces oils that have a drier, more herbal flavour.

Greek olive oils are herby, fruity and sometimes peppery - good all-rounders.

Prepare it:
Olive oil is ready to cook with. If you have flavoured olive oil with any herbs and spices, these should be strained out - pour the strained olive oil into a clean bottle before you use it.

Store it:
Olive oil deteriorates when exposed to direct sunlight, so keep it in an airtight bottle a cool, dark place, like a kitchen cupboard, rather than sitting out on a worktop or window sill. Olive oil does not improve with age, and is best consumed within a year of bottling.

Above from article here

a couple of recipe suggestions using olive oil

Tomato and Mint Salad
A fruity Sicilian olive oil brings out the best in this refreshing salad
details here

Green Pepper Tortilla
great for lunch - details here

A variety of articles and recipe ideas are found within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Tom said...

...something we rarely use.

roughterrain crane said...

We benefits by an ancestor's invention of making oil. It must be a great fun to taste variety of cooking oils in the world.

JFM said...

Great info on olive oil!
It's the only type I use except for when I deep fry something.
Always great fun to learn new facts.

Thank you Jan
Hugs 💮

DUTA said...

I'm not particularly fond of olive oil. I prefer grapes seeds oil, but the later is expensive, and it comes in big bottles. So I keep olive oil in my kitchen, in small bottles, because as you've mentioned, it doesn't age well like wine and it has to be used within a year from bottling.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the recipes look delicious. I love anything with tomatoes. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Loving the look of the tomato and mint salad. Was interesting to read about the different olive oils Jan, I might have to expand my collection of oils.

Christine said...

Nice to know more about olive oil which I use a lot, thanks for the recipe links.

Valerie-Jael said...

Very interesting post although I am not a great friend of olive oil. Hugs, Valerie

Anonymous said...

The tomato and mint salad looks good.


William Kendall said...

At a couple of the embassy events we had here last year, I sampled some olive oil. There's quite a market for it out there.

Chris Lally said...

What's not to love? Great post, Jan!

Out on the prairie said...

Many are from a multiple countries. On a local cooking show their best pick for extra virgin was from California

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

mmm that green pepper tortilla looks scrumptious

Elephant's Child said...

We love it. And use it often.

Mary Kirkland said...

I use olive oil for sauteing vegies.

Snowbird said...

Interesting information re olive oil, I always use extra virgin, I especially like the ones infused with chili and garlic. Loved the cherry tomato

carol l mckenna said...

Doesn't look a tortilla to me but looks delicious whatever it is called ~

Happy Times to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

happyone said...

Use olive oil a lot at my house, my husband is Italian after all. : )

DMS said...

I didn't know all of this about olive oil- but it was definitely interesting to learn more about it. I keep mine in a dark cupboard- so good to know I am doing the right thing. :)

Martha said...

Olive oil was always in our home when I was growing up. Having Greek parents certainly made it so! Now I use it in my own home regularly. Thanks for all the lovely recipes!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Thanks for sharing his info. I use a lot of different oils depending on what it's for. Enjoy your evening!

Amy Purdy said...

I love olive oil. I use it nearly every day.

Phil Slade said...

A very interesting post. We too use olive oil only now. No other cooking fats except a little butter. Maybe guys, we can have a post about olives themselves and the different types? I just love those Greek Kalamata but they are pretty expensive. On the other hand, I know that producing olives is very labour intensive.