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The olive tree is a crop native to Asia Minor which spread to the rest of the Mediterranean, Iran and Palestine around 6,000 years ago. It is one of the oldest cultivated trees and has been growing long before the written language existed.
Olive oil is a great oil to use for cooking because of its amazing health benefits and distinctive flavor. Olive oil has been used for centuries but has become extremely popular recently due to studies which have proven just how healthy this oil is. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat which has been shown to lower your bad cholesterol and blood pressure while raising the good cholesterol and helps protect against strokes.
There are a few things you should know about olive oil to make sure you cook with it properly, and everything turns out as delicious as planned. The main thing to keep in mind is that olive oil has a low smoke point. This means the oil will start to smoke at high temperatures. If you have overheated olive oil ever in a pan, you know how it can fill your kitchen with smoke and will destroy the flavor of your food. Some olive oils cannot withstand the heat of the pan. Some types have a low smoking point, and if they reach this point, it means that they lose their unique flavor.
Since olive oil has become popular lately and is available in every grocery store, you may have noticed quite a variety to choose from. The flavor of the oil can vary depending upon where the olives were grown, so if you find you don’t like the flavor of a particular brand, simply switch to another.
Extra Virgin Olive
This oil needs to be cooked with very carefully because it can quickly lose its flavor with heat. These oils are also great in salad dressings, marinades, or added to sauces when finished. As a healthy alternative to butter, drizzle it over slices of Italian bread or on baked or mashed potatoes.
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive has a great flavor and aroma and is less expensive, making it a better choice for cooking. You can blend it with canola, clarified butter or use it straight for cooking methods like broiling, or pan-frying.
Olive Oil or Pure Olive
This oil is pure, and there are no other oils that are blended with the olive oil during production. This oil can only be obtained through a refining process, which eliminates most of the flavor. It can be more cost effective to use this oil for cooking rather than more expensive virgin varieties.
Extra Light Olive Oil
This is not a calorie reduced food, and the “light” only refers to the color of the oil. The light or mild varieties are very popular with consumers who want the health benefits of olive oil without a strong olive taste.
Olive oil should be stored in a dark, cool place and not in the refrigerator as it will eventually solidify. It should be kept in an odorless container and stored in cupboards that are not exposed to strong smells. otherwise the oil will absorb the various smells. If it is properly stored the oil can last for at least two years, however, it has the best flavor in the first two months of the opening so use it as much as you can then!