TO USE AS A CONDIMENT (UNHEATED)

A high quality extra virgin olive oil is perfect as a condiment, drizzled over fish, meat, steamed vegetables or baked potatoes, in salad dressings, as a bread dipper, as the base for mayonnaise and uncooked sauces, or rubbed on a piece of bread, to name only a few examples. As the oil is left unheated, you reap the full benefits of its flavor and aroma, as well as of its health qualities. You won’t use very much so it is well worth the higher price of a gourmet extra virgin olive oil.

Think of extra virgin olive oil as you would of wine. Pair it with foods, find the right match. Use a mild to medium strength oil for salad dressings or as a condiment over mild food, such as mozzarella. Switch to a robust olive oil to drizzle over fresh tomatoes or a hearty dish. Use your imagination to create various mixes of flavors you like. More and more stores offer olive oil tasting and sampling. Take advantage of it to decide which oils you like the most. In the end, that is what matters. 

Storage Tip: as light and heat are detrimental to the oil, keep your oil in a dark, cool place, away from the stove. Dark glass protects the oil from light, including halogen and fluorescent lights, much better than clear glass. Beware of clear bottles of olive oil on the top shelf at the store.

TO BROWN, STIR FRY, OR FRY WITH

There are two things to consider in choosing an oil for this purpose. The first one is that, among virgin olive oils, extra virgin oil has the highest smoke point (that is, it tolerates high heat), but this point varies even among extra virgin olive oils depending on their acidity. 

The second consideration is that heating the oil for frying will destroy much of its flavor and aroma, so there is no point in buying an expensive oil. We suggest using extra virgin (no point in buying a Best of Show oil, though) or virgin olive oil for browning or sautéing, and a cheap, flavorless oil with a high smoke point for frying - something like canola, soy or peanut oil. 

TO ENJOY ITS HEALTH BENEFITS

If you are especially interested in the health benefit aspects of olive oil, the best choice is extra virgin olive oil, preferably a very high quality one, as it is likely that its production method left most anti-oxidants and other healthy components intact. The more recently the oil was made, the better, so make sure to pick one with a harvesting or “Best By” date. We recommend buying an extra virgin olive oil certified by the COOC.

One of the greatest benefits of extra virgin olive oil is its antioxidant content. Keep in mind, however, that antioxidants in olive oil are bitter. The higher the antioxidant content, the more bitter the oil will be. This may be in direct contradiction with either your personal taste or an optimum food pairing: if you drizzle a very bitter extra virgin olive oil on mozzarella, for instance, or use it to make mayonnaise, the olive oil bitterness may completely overpower the cheese or the food you are eating with the mayonnaise. On the other hand, a garlic and olive oil pasta dish can work very well with a bitter oil.

TO USE ON YOUR SKIN

Olive oil has been used for thousand of years as a beauty product for both skin and hair. If you use it as a moisturizer, we recommend a high quality extra virgin olive oil, as you will use very little. Pure and light olive may have been chemically processed. Some people pour some olive oil in their bath water: a good choice for this is a virgin or refined olive oil.

TO MAKE SOAP

Most people use pomace or refined oil to make olive oil soap because of their lower price and better saponification properties. If you use a virgin olive oil, make certain that the oil is relatively fresh, otherwise, your soap may develop DOS, aka the Dreaded Orange Spots. The orange spots show up on the soap bars a few weeks after they are produced if the oil is too old, even if it looks normal and does not smell or appear rancid.

TO BURN IN AN OIL LAMP

People have used olive oil with cotton or linen wicks to cleanse the air around them and to keep flames burning for light for thousand of years. Use pomace oil or any kind of cheap olive oil.

 

 

Resource: The Olive Oil Source

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