Olive Oils - Find Out About Practical and Nutritional Facts

by Paul Zayer

Should I start using olive oils at home? Continue to read and many questions related to olive oils will be answered here.

One of the oldest foods known to mankind comes from the olive tree, native to Mediterranean regions. In the Bible, the olive tree is mentioned very often, also in the Garden of Gethsemane and well-known in the Jewish custom, where the oil burned miraculously for eight days. Olive oils occupy a major role today, a subject of gastronomic delights, winning praises from nutritionists as a healthy way to avoid cholesterol problems.

Many countries where olive trees thrive claim superiority in their locally produced olive oils. There are various categories, with various uses appropriate for a given gastronomic purpose. To the common cook, the issue of olive oils can become confusing. When do you use cold-pressed, extra virgin oil? Which types of oils are suitable to dress your salad to perfection? What's best for regular cooking? Italian or Spanish? Let's take a quick look at what's available and try to clarify some of the mystery.

All olive oils are missing one constituent you can find in almost every other type of oil - cholesterol. As a starting point, you know you're making a healthy diet choice when you opt for olive oils.

Now let's talk about country of origin? Italy, Spain, Greece and France all have fertile olive producing areas, and vie with each other for the top spot in quality and purity.

The truth is that every olive growing region has climate and soil conditions, producing a different character to the oils produced and doesn't have much to do with an inherent degree of quality that can be identified as superior or inferior. Climate and soil makeup provide a distinctive essence, amounting to plain preference or affinity of particular oils to foods within the same locale.

The grading of olive oils is another story. Grading defines the refinement of the product, mainly noticeable in the acidity.

The "extra virgin" label is designated to the first "cold" pressing of the olives. A maximum of 0.8% acidity is prescribed by this designation, suitable for the finest salad dressing, where the top flavor of the cold pressing stand out.

Oils named "virgin" are known to be a lower class, but still an acceptable salad dressing quality. Virgin olive oils must not contain more than 2% acidity, and must contain no refined oil. As the delicate flavor will be lost in cooking, virgin oils should not be wasted in cooking.

Products simply labelled "olive oil" do not aspire to strong or refined taste and are best suited to cooking. Also, a label that says "100% pure" or "Imported from Italy" can be ambiguous, implying a degree of quality that is not warranted. Such labels indicate the lower end of quality, composites of oils from many countries, suited to frying without the fine distinctive essence and low acidity of virgin olive oils.

Among chefs, olive oil is a cult thing. It's important to understand the grades if you want to get the most from your cooking. Anyhow, remember that these oils contain no cholesterol and it will be good for your heart to understand the fine points. So here you go, I am pretty sure that you will look at olive oils in a different way from now on. Take care of your health now, do not wait.

This well known author is an Internet lover and surely likes sharing his passion with others. Read more now about Nutrition and all about Olive Oils ideas at his website foodnutritioninformationguide.com

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