Olive oil is a fruit oil obtained from the olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The wild olive tree originated in Asia Minor and spread from there as far as southern Africa, Australia, Japan and China. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. Olive oil is used throughout the world, but especially in the Mediterranean.
Olive oil is the main cooking oil in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Extra-virgin olive oil is mostly used for salad dressings and foods to be eaten cold. Used cold, its strong flavor is able to stick out while not being compromised by heat. It is also used for sauteing ingredients.
The higher the temperature to which the olive oil is heated, the more one should prefer the use of refined olive oils. When extra-virgin olive oil is heated above 350 °C (662 °F), the unrefined particles within the oil get burned. This leads to deteriorated taste and even toxicity. Also, the pronounced taste of extra-virgin olive oil is not a taste most people like to associate with their deep fried foods. Refined olive oils are perfectly suited for deep frying foods and should be replaced after several uses.
Choosing a cold-pressed olive oil can be similar to selecting a wine. The flavor of these oils vary considerably and a particular oil may be more suited for a particular dish. Also, people who like lots of tannins in their red wines might prefer more bitter olive oils.
An important issue which is often not realized in countries that do not produce olive oil is that the freshness makes a big difference. A very fresh oil, as available in an oil producing region, tastes noticeably different from the older oils available elsewhere. In time, oils deteriorate and become stale. One-year old oil may be still pleasant to the taste, but it is surely less fragrant than fresh oil. After the first year olive oil should be used for cooking, not for foods to be eaten cold, like salads.
The taste of the olive oil is influenced by the soil that the olive trees grow on, but also by the moment when the olives have been harvested and ground.
Olive oil has more uses than just consuming, it also works as a natural and safe lubricant. For example, lubricating the machinery that is used within the kitchen (grinders, blenders, cookware, etc.)
In addition to the internal health benefits of olive oil, topical application is quite popular with fans of natural health remedies. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the preferred grade for moisturizing the skin, especially when used in the oil cleansing method (OCM). OCM is a method of cleansing and moisturizing the face with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil (or another suitable carrier oil) and a select blend of essential oils. Olive oil is also used by some to reduce ear wax buildup.
Olive oil can be used as an effective shaving oil to shave facial and other body hair giving results that are equivalent to expensive commercial products.
Studies on mice showed that application of olive oil immediately following exposure to UVB rays has a preventive effect on the formation of tumors and skin cancer.
Jeanne Calment, who holds the record for the longest confirmed lifespan, reportedly attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed into her skin.
Olive oil is unlikely to cause allergic reactions, and as such is used in preparations for lipophilic drug ingredients. It does have demulcent properties, and mild laxative properties, acting as a stool softener. It is also used at room temperature as an ear wax softener. Olive oil is also a potent blocker of intestinal contractions, and can be used to treat excessive Borborygmus.
Oleocanthal from olive oil is a non-selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase (COX) similar to classical NSAIDs like ibuprofen. It has been suggested that long-term consumption of small quantities of this compound from olive oil may be responsible in part for the low incidence of heart disease associated with a Mediterranean diet.
Olive oil is also used in soap making and as lamp oil.
Turkey has to be the only place on the whole wide world that has olive for breakfast! Olive for breakfast, olive for lunch, olive oil for cooking, olive oil for frying, olive oil for the hair & skin & olive soap for bathing!!! Popeye's wonderland ;-) As for me, I only like olive (oil) for my hair :-))) Yes, you hear me right. Olive Oil for the hair. I know, most use Olive Oil for cooking and the extra-virgin oil is especially … more