If you’re like me, you use olive oil every chance you get.Â This light, tasty oil is perfect for a quick cheese saute and even desserts.Â But what do you really know about this oil,Â beside the expense?Â Â Let’s figure it out…
Olive oil is a veggie oil made from the fruit of an olive tree, a traditional crop of the Mediterranean Basin.Â It is highly regarded as a healthy dietaryÂ oil because of its high content of monounsaturated fat and polyphenols.Â
Olive oil production begins by transforming the olive fruit into a paste.Â The paste is thenÂ crushed & malaxed to allow the microscopic olive droplets to concentrate.Â The oil is extracted by means of pressure or centrifugation.Â
There are several types of olive oil used and their methods of extraction differ.Â For instance, virgin olive oil has an acidity of less than 2% and must be judged to have a good taste, there canÂ be no refined oil in virgin olive oil.Â While extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains less than .08% acidity and judges to have a superior taste.Â Lampante oil is a low-grade olive oil used primarily as lamp oil.
There is actually an International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) that sets standards of quality for major olive oil producing countries.Â It governs about 95% of global production and holds great influence over the rest, it’s likeÂ the Big Brother of the olive world.Â Spain heads up the world’s production at 44% with Italy and Greece following.
One of the earliest documented uses of olive oil is with the city of Athens.Â According to legend, the city obtained its name because they considered olive oil more essential than water.Â Olive oil was also used by the ancient Hebrews.Â Olive oil of the highest purity was poured daily into the seven cups of the golden Menorah in the Holy Temple at Jerusalem.Â It was also used for anointing kings if the Kingdom of Israel.
Now on to the good stuff, Olive Oil Cake recipe post coming soon.