Cooking with Olive Oil
Other countries in the Mediterranean region that grow olives include France, Portugal, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and of course, Italy. Growers in California produce wonderful olive oils, also.
Types of Olive Oil
Each region and each grower produce olive oils with unique character and appeal owing to soil, climate and type of olive. On the consumers' end, the character changes depending on the ingredients with which it is pairs up.
With so many olive oils on supermarket shelves, a good and curious cook might want to compare various types. In additions, a good cook may wish to try to identify their characteristics in order to decide which olive oils are best for cooking, salads, drizzling on dishes or dunking with bread.
Olive oils have vintages just as wines do. Unlike wines, which often improve with age, olive oils deteriorate as they get older. They should be used within a years, two at the most, of pressing.
As you sniff and taste various olive oils, expect a wide range of fragrances and flavors. Four general taste categories cover the flavors of most olive oils.
These are as follows:
- Mild and buttery: These are subtle oils, good for mild dishes such as a simple fish or salad dressing. They tend to be light golden-green.
- Fruity and spicy: You can smell the herbs in these green oils. They are delicious with cooked vegetables and seafood and are easy to love.
- Fruity and peppery: These will get your attention with a long peppery finish. Their assertive flavors are good companions for sandwich fillings, drizzled on garlicky dishes such as pastas, or grilled meats. They are often dark green-gold in color.
- Full bodied and earthy: Like a big wine, these are big olive oils. Rich mouth-feel with a full flavor characterizes the golden oils.
An antioxidant in extra-virgin olive oil can protect against brain-cell damage, according to a recent study. Plus, women who eat a Mediterranean diet, often rich in olive oil, seem to reduce their risk of dying (from any cause) by 20 percent.
Olive Oil Quencher
Dab a pea-size amount of extra virgin olive oil on your lips to hydrate a parched pucker; or use it on rough patches (think elbows and heels), as needed.
Did You Know: Olive Oil Aids Detox
Olive Oil helps cleanse and protect the arteries from plaque build-up while lowering LDL cholesterol (often referred to as the harmful cholesterol) without lowering HDL cholesterol. Olive oil also helps lower blood pressure and regulates blood sugar by cleansing the arteries.
See also: Baking with Olive Oil