Olive oil is a staple in our closet and a staple of the Mediterranean diet. However, there are some things you need to know to take full advantage of its health benefits.
What Are The Health Advantages And Disadvantages Of Olive Oil?
Olive oil is excellent for health due to its richness in omega-9, monounsaturated fatty acids. Their consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) in the blood.
It is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that slow down cellular aging and vitamins K (blood coagulation and bone strength) and E (skin elasticity).
However, it contains 100% lipids and therefore remains caloric (90 kcal/tablespoon is more than butter). We generally recommend two tablespoons per day on the four tablespoons of vegetable oil recommended daily.
Virgin Or Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
A mechanical process obtains both; without “extra,” the oil must meet chemical and taste criteria, particularly on the percentage of acidity (less than 0.8%).
What Does “Cold Pressing” Bring?
“Cold-pressed” or “cold extracted,” both methods respect a technical temperature used. The mills which press the olive with a stone grindstone are called “cold pressing.” Companies that manufacture olive oil in a centrifuge or with an automated press mention “cold extraction.” There is no effect on the taste.
Can We Cook Everything With Olive Oil?
It can be used for seasoning and cooking. The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is around the formation of harmful compounds.
Be careful, however, not to use it for frying! As we lack even more omega-3 than omega-9, we alternate with other oils (rapeseed, walnut or flax) to reserve for the seasoning.
Which Olive Oil For Which Preparation?
A fruity olive oil ripe for cooking, in mashed potatoes or a pan-fried mushroom. Rather soft.
A fruity green olive oil on crudités salads, pan-fried green vegetables or avocado. A little spicy.
A fruity dark olive oil on bread or cheese, on new potatoes and in chocolate cakes. A characteristic taste of black olive.
Green, Black Or Ripe Fruity Oil, What Does It Change?
This mention which sometimes appears on the label, indicates the degree of maturity of the olives during harvest:
- For “fruity green” oils, the olive is harvested when it is green.
- For “ripe fruit,” the olive is harvested later. These are the oils that are most commonly found in supermarkets.
- For the “fruity black,” the black olives are lightly fermented.
Should You Choose PDO Olive Oil?
AOP (European label) and AOC (French equivalent) guarantee a defined geographical origin and pretty strict harvest and production conditions. There are eight PDOs in France and one PDO. They are more expensive and rarer in supermarkets.
The Protected Geographical Index (PGI) is less strict; the olives are not necessarily harvested at production.
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Should We Prefer Organic Olive Oil?
Not necessarily. It is always better not to have any chemical treatment. But the contamination of the olive oil with pesticide residues is relatively low.
We Do Not Keep It For More Than Two Years
Olive oil aged poorly and goes rancid. It keeps on average 12 to 18 months, never more than two years. As it must be consumed within six months after opening, we buy small bottles.
Glass or plastic bottle?
Plastic bottles are less protective of oil. The ideal is an opaque glass bottle and keeps it in a cupboard. Those sold in an iron container are also better protected.
Is Good Oil Necessarily Expensive?
Olive oils from small producers, more expensive (15 to 20 € per liter minimum), are made from quality olive varieties. To be preferred for seasoning.
But a high price is not always synonymous with quality because the evolution of the oil depends on the storage conditions. However, below 6/7 € per liter, we inevitably have a low-quality oil.
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