Olive Oil


Generic term for oil pressed from olives. High in oleic acid and touted as being heart healthy, olive oil is a base cooking and flavoring oil in many cultures, especially around the Mediterranean and Middle East. Olive oil has a stronger flavor and lower smoking point than many other vegetable oils, which is why some people prefer not to cook with it. There are many different grades, colors, and flavor profiles of olive oil, depending on the extraction process and olives used. Liquid at room temperature, olive oil has a relatively high freezing point of 39 degrees fahrenheit, but some can solidify at higher temperatures depending on variety and suspended olive solids. High quality extra virgin olive oil has a smoking point around 405 degrees F (207 degrees C).


Translations: Olīveļļa, Alyvų aliejus, Ulei de măsline, Maslinovo ulje, Dầu ôliu, Oliwa z oliwek, Olijfolie, जैतून का तेल, Azeite, Оливковое масло, Ελαιόλαδο, زيت زيتون, 올리브 기름, Olivový olej, Маслиново уље, Langis ng oliba, 橄榄油, Oli d'Oliva, Oljčno olje, Olivový olej, Olio d'oliva, שמן זית, Olivolja, Minyak zaitun, オリーブオイル, Huile d'olive, Olivenolie, Olivenolje, Aceite de Oliva, Оливкова олія, Oliiviöljy, Зехтин

Physical Description

Olive oil is available in a variety of grades, which reflect the degree to which it has been processed.

Colors: golden yellow

Tasting Notes

Wine complements: Amontillado, Sherry, Fino, Riesling, Manzanilla, Verdelho, Sherry amontillado, Retsina, Zinfandel, Côtes de provence, Sherry manzanilla, Sherry, Merlot, White, Beaujolais
Substitutes: Canola oil, Peanut oil, Sunflower oil

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Look for olive 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. If possible, choose olive oils that give you a harvest date, or expiry date since olive oils go rancid within 2 years.
Buying: When you shop for olive oil in supermarkets, you will notice a host of different grades are available, including extra-virgin, fine virgin, refined and pure.
Procuring: Over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% of which are in the Mediterranean region. At more than one-third of the world's production, Spain is the top producer of olive oil in the world. Olive oil is produced by grinding olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means. Green olives usually produce more bitter oil, and overripe olives can produce oil that is rancid, so for good extra virgin olive oil care is taken to make sure the olives are perfectly ripened.

Preparation and Use

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 as a salad dressing and as an ingredient in salad dressings. It is also used with foods to be eaten cold. If uncompromised by heat, the flavor is stronger. It also can be used for sautéing.

Cleaning: Sometimes the produced oil will be filtered to eliminate remaining solid particles that may reduce the shelf life of the product. Labels may indicate the fact that the oil has not been filtered, suggesting a different taste. Unfiltered fresh olive oil that has a slightly cloudy appearance is called cloudy olive oil.

Conserving and Storing

Even though olive oil's monounsaturated fats are more stable and heat-resistant than the polyunsaturated fats that predominate in other oils (especially the easily damaged omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seed oil, which should always be refrigerated and never heated), olive oil should be stored properly and used within a few months to ensure its healthy phytonutrients remain intact and available.



History: The recent discovery that the Mediterranean diet, which features this prized oil, may be linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other health conditions has caused olive oil to become very popular in the United States in the past few decades. Today, much of the commercial cultivation of olive oil is still centered in the Mediterranean region in such countries as Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.



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