Olive oil is extracted from the Olea Europaea tree. This tree is located, mostly, in the Mediterranean basin, parts of African and Asian continents, respectively. The tree can reach heights around anywhere from 26 to 49 feet tall! The tree also has a twisted and warped trunk with white flowers. The roots system is extremely extensive and is accompanied by a study as well.
Olive trees are extremely resilient when it comes to disease, drought and fires. They are long-lasting trees and with age their trunk gets visibly more twisted and warped. These days, the olive trees in the Mediterranean basin are well over a hundred years old.
The olive tree fruit is what we commonly know as the olive which has a flesh layer followed by a round seed in the centre. The olives have slow growth but are usually harvested when they turn green in colour.
The tree, bearing the fruit, usually grows the best in hot and temperate weathers. If the temperature is unsuitable, then the tree may be damaged or injured to the point where it loses its ability to bear fruits.
The popular condiment, Olive Oil, is extracted from the olives. There are various types of olive oils ranging from extra virgin to pomace and lite. The processing usually alters the colours of the oils. The finest olive oil has a dark robust hue which is mostly associated with the best extra virgin olive oil. If you come across an extra virgin olive oil lacking the distinct green hue, remember, that it may be since the oil has been extracted using lower quality olives.
TYPES OF OLIVE OIL:
"Virgin" has lower chemical procession, "Refined" has been chemically treated to some extent and "Pomace" has been extracted by using chemical treatments and heat.
Extra Virgin Oil: least chemically treated, obtained from the very first pressing of olives, which contains superior amounts of vitamins and healthy nutrients. There are no additives, plus its light on the stomach. Has great texture and taste. This oil is favoured for its balance of flavours, colour, superior quality and aroma which is why it's used very frequently in cooking or as a salad topping.
Virgin Olive Oil: extracted from the next pressing of the olives, having very low acidity levels with an amicably good taste. Although, some might also agree that the oil has a more intense taste when compared to the extra virgin type. Also used for cooking and salads.
Pure Olive Oil: this is a mixture of virgin and refined olive oils. This inexpensive while also having great nutritional values. This oil is better for cooking rather than seasonings.
Pomace Olive Oil: often regarded as the lowest grade of olive oils. Obtained from the residual oil which is left in the pomace of the olive. To make it commercially usable, it is blended with higher grade olive oils. This oil is considered the best olive oil for cooking at high temperatures.Lite Olive Oil: these are pure rectified oils comprising of minute quantities of virgin oils if any at all. The oils are light tasting and pale in colour. Though, it contains identical amounts of calories in tbsp olive oil when compared to the other olive oils.
But these are delicate oils requiring specific storing conditions to keep their taste and condition up to par, so let’s take a look at how to store olive oil.
Storing Olive Oil
It is crucial to keep the oil tightly sealed in a cool, dry, dark place to prevent it from getting spoilt. Heat, air, light and time work against olive oil and ruin it if there is prolonged exposure without proper storage. If the oil is around six months old, it can lose up to almost half of its nutritious, antioxidants benefits. This oil does not enhance with age, like cheese, so consume it within 90 days. It can be refrigerated but there are various views regarding refrigeration.
Some claim that refrigeration can harm its flavour while others claim it may necessitate refrigeration because of its extremely perishable monosaturated fat. Refrigeration will result in the oil turning into a solid, but upon removal, it would go back to its liquid state. This in and out of the refrigeration might cause the oil to lose the qualities which make it stand out.
It's a common consensus that the very same qualities which make olive oil unique, provide massive health benefits to its users as well. Here's a look at some health benefits of olive oils.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil reduces LDL levels, stimulates HDL; hence, lowering the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Extra virgin and virgin oils have high-level quantities of polyphenols, which is a powerful antioxidant, thus helping prevent cancer in the consumers. Olive oil is gentle on the stomach and behaves like a laxative.
It aids the intestines in fighting against ulcers and other gastric issues. Superior quality olive oils contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E and K in addition to iron as well.
Olive oils rejuvenate skin cells. They also neutralise free radicals resulting in skin cancer and ageing skin. Acts as a thorough moisturiser and used in a wide array of household skincare products like soaps and lip balms because of the beneficial nutrients it possesses. It can be topically applied directly onto mature, hypersensitive, irritated, cracked or dry scaly skin.So, to avail the maximum benefits of olive oil, it is recommended to use olive oil in our daily diets ad if you’re looking for the best olive oil then check this out!