Aug 30, 2013

Fun Facts About Olive Oil

Calories per tablespoon: 119
Total fat: 13.5g
Saturated fat: 1.82g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Vitamin E: 4% Daily Value

Olive oil comes from California, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. All olive oils are graded in accordance with the degree of acidity they contain. The best are cold-pressed, a chemical-free process that involves only pressure, which produces a natural level of low acidity.

Extra virgin olive oil, the cold-pressed result of the first pressing of the olives, is only 1 percent acid. It's considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils and is therefore also the most expensive. Extra virgin olive oil can range from a crystalline champagne color to greenish-golden to bright green. In general, the deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. After extra virgin, olive oils are classified in order of ascending acidity.

Virgin olive oil is also a first-press oil, with a slightly higher level of acidity of between 1 and 3 percent.
Fino olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and virgin oils (fino is Italian for "fine"). Products labeled simply olive oil (once called pure olive oil ) contain a combination of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin oil.

Light olive oil contains the same amount of beneficial monounsaturated fat as regular olive oil and has exactly the same number of calories. Light" refers to  an extremely fine filtration process and this olive oil is lighter in both color and fragrance. It's rather nondescript flavor makes "light" olive oil good for baking and cooking. The filtration process for the light-style oil also gives it a higher smoke point than regular olive oil. Light olive oils can be used for high-heat frying, whereas regular olive oil is better suited for low to medium-heat cooking, as well as for salad dressings and marinades.

Olive oil can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. It can be refrigerated and last up to a year. Chilled olive oil becomes cloudy and too thick to pour. However, it will clear and become liquid again when brought to room temperature.

Olive oil is obtained from the pulp of olives by separating the liquids from solids. To make the finest, or extra-virgin olive oil, the fruit is gathered when fully ripened, ground to a paste under granite or steel millstones, layered over straw mats, and pressed in a hydraulic press. Today, most olive oil is produced by just one pressing. The resulting oil is separated from the juice by settling or by centrifuge and then filtered. Olive oil of good quality is ready to use, without further refinement.

Although olive oil is chiefly used as a food or in food preservation, it is also used in soaps, certain pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.