What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit (olives) of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region. The oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking, and soaps, and was also used as a fuel for traditional lamps.
History of Olive Oil
Olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, but today it is used worldwide. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, followed by Italy and Greece. For ancient Greeks, the olive tree was a symbol of success and peace, and the extracted oil was anointed on important members of the society. It has been using as a food ingredient or used in cooking since ancient times. Olive oil is also used on skin, hair to give desired moisture and protection.
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Preparation of Olive Oil
Olives are harvested from the tree without breaking the fruit then processed within 12 to 24 hours of the harvest. During this time, the fruit is generally graded and separated according to quality, while leaves, sticks and debris are removed. Fruit is crushed to release the oil before milling in a stone mill. The rate of milling can strongly affect the taste and flavour of oil, thus milling process should be slow. From here, the oil is treated to each individual grade.
Best Grades of Olive oil:
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It is important to understand that there are many grades of olive oil. And each grade comes with its own share of pros and cons different from the other variants. The highest grade of olive oil is the extra virgin olive oil, followed by virgin oil, and finally refined oil.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is obtained by crushing or cold-pressing olives and extracting the fresh juice. It is unrefined and the highest-quality olive oil one can buy.
- Standard Virgin oil: Virgin olive oil comes from standard virgin oil production, or cold pressing only, it has acidity less than 2%, and is known to have a ‘good’ taste.
- Pure or blended olive oil: It may be called ‘pure’, but they are mostly a blend of refined olive oil and virgin production oil.
- Refined oil: When virgin oils are sent to the processing plant, they undergo chemical processing, which makes them the “refined olive oils.”
- Pomace oil: Good for cooking.
Uses of Olive oil in food industry
- Olive oil is good cooking oil and finds its use in culinary.
- It is used as a dessert fruit and for wine.
- It helps carry the flavor of foods and spices as it is good flavour enhancer.
- It is used to bake breads, cakes,cookies.
- It is contains anti-oxidants.
- Olives can be eaten whole or chopped and added to pizzas and other dishes.
- The oil can be used as a dip for bread, for frying, or as a salad dressing.
Advantages of Using Olive Oil in Food Products
- Researches proved that having olive oil in food diet can reduces cardiovascular disease, hypertension and it also reduces inflammation.
- It is a source of monosaturated fatty acids.
- It is rich in anti-oxidants.
- It raises good cholesterol in humans and good for digestion.
- It is good for heart, hair, skin.
- It may treat depression and promotes brain health.
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Disadvantages of Olive Oil
There is no such disadvantage of consuming olive oil.
FDA Approval on the Use of Olive oil in Food Processing
Olive oil is GRAS for its use as food ingredient.