Shady olive groves have shaped the landscape throughout the Mediterranean for centuries. Most of them now know that their fruits are healthy as an important part of Mediterranean cuisine. In addition to taste and versatility probably one of the reasons why olive oil is becoming increasingly popular and has also found its way into our kitchen. What Olive Oil Does That Is Learned Here.
Olive oil contains "healthy fat"
Word has gotten around that olive oil not only impresses with its typical taste, but is also a "healthy fat" all around. The oil consists of almost 80% of monounsaturated fatty acids, is rich in sterols, phenolic compounds and flavors and aromas. In addition, it contains virtually no cholesterol, but 12 milligrams of the important, antioxidant vitamin E per 100 grams.
While the aromatic substances are responsible for the characteristic aroma of the oil, the other substances increase its stability. As antioxidants they prevent harmful oxidation processes (caused by free radicals) and / or are important substances for the positive effect on our health.
In terms of calories, olive oil - comparable to other oils - delivers 9 kcal per gram.
How healthy is olive oil?
Olive oil is considered to be especially healthy because the oil:
- is protective against cancer and heart disease
- Lowers unwanted LDL cholesterol and improves the relationship between LDL and HDL cholesterol.
- leads to lowering blood pressure
- has positive effect on the fat metabolism
- reduces the risk of diabetes
- prevents atherosclerosis diseases
Particularly high efficacy is shown by oils of the highest quality. There are cold-pressed (extra native and native) olive oils and those which are refined with the addition of steam and chemicals. The term cold-pressed is not an official quality name.
Olive oil: different grades
The European Community has developed guidelines that classify olive oils into four different grades. The proportion of free fatty acids plays a role, but also the taste and the method of production.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (extra virgin)
- Virgin Olive Oil (virgin)
- olive oil
- Olive pomace oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality grade. The oil is pressed directly from olives in the first pressing with purely mechanical means (cold). The proportion of free fatty acids, calculated as oleic acid, must not exceed 1 gram per 100 grams of oil. Furthermore, taste, smell and color must be particularly exquisite and impeccable. The oil is characterized by a great variety of flavors.
Even with virgin olive oil, the oil is obtained by a cold pressing. For the virgin olive oil, the fatty acid content may be up to 2 grams per 100 grams of oil. It has a great variety of tastes, but may be found in comparison to extra virgin oil in the sensory testing small false attributes.
If the oil obtained by the cold pressing does not meet the requirements for native oils, it is refined under steam. It may then only carry the name olive oil. For flavor enhancement, it is then enriched with native oils. Olive oil may contain a maximum of 1.5 grams of fatty acids per 100 grams of oil.
From the fruit residues of the pressed olive oil is produced in a completely different manufacturing process olive pomace oil, which must be marked as such. This oil is made exclusively from olive pomace. It is very mild in taste and may contain a maximum of 1.5 grams of fatty acids per 100 grams of oil.
5 facts about durability and workmanship
You should not only focus on quality when buying olive oil, there are also some things to keep in mind when storing and processing the oil:
- Due to its natural antioxidants, olive oils are more stable to heat than most other oils. The smoke point of olive oil is 180 ° C, so it is suitable to a degree even for frying.
- Olive oils are stored properly (dark and at temperatures between 10 ° C to 16 ° C) for at least 18 months.
- Stored in the refrigerator flocculates olive oil. Although this does not cause a loss of quality, but it should be cleared again at room temperature before use.
- When buying olive oil, a good olive oil can be recognized by its extreme freshness, it smells of grass, green tomatoes or artichokes.
- The color is important too. The oil should be golden yellow with a greenish glow - it must shine! The consistency should be thin. A bad oil, on the other hand, is dull in color and tough-viscous.
By the way, organic olive oil does not always get a better rating in tests - even pollutants have already been found in organic olive oil. Current product tests can help to determine which olive oil is best before buying it.
Olive oil in the Mediterranean kitchen
The characteristic taste of olive oil also makes it a congenial partner of the Mediterranean way of life. Because this relies on the following elements:
- Daily variety of plant foods (vegetables, fruits, bread, pasta and other cereal products, legumes and nuts) - processed as little as possible and fresh depending on the season and region.
- Olive oil as main fat source. Although the oil is suitable for heating, it is also used cold in the Mediterranean kitchen, for example, in dressing for salad.
- Dairy products, mainly yoghurt and cheese, daily in small to moderate amounts.
- Fish (and poultry) several times a week in moderate quantities.
- Meat rare in smaller quantities.
- Wine regularly with meals in moderate amounts.
- More exercise and more sport.
Olive oil for the skin and hair
Olive oil is not only popular in the kitchen. Also for external use for healthy hair and beautiful skin, the oil is suitable and is therefore a popular ingredient in cosmetics.
A cream with olive oil, for example, cares for dry, chapped skin and makes it supple again. If you want to make your own cosmetics, olive oil and salt can easily be used to exfoliate the face itself.
But beware: Dermatologists advise against generous olive oil after showering, as too much of the oil could dry out the skin. In finished cosmetics olive oil is therefore usually low concentrated.
Also for the hair olive oil is considered a treat. For example, pure olive oil should help as a hair cure for split ends, itchy scalp and dandruff. Although dermatologists confirm that olive oil can smooth and make the hair shiny, they point out that this effect could be negated by subsequent washing with shampoo. The ideal hair care is not olive oil.
Olive tree: plant with medicinal effect
Hardly any other plant has ever received so much reverence as the olive tree and its products. Whether as a symbol of peace, as the highest prize in the Olympic Games or as a healing plant with far-reaching medical effectiveness.
Over 150 different olive tree species now provide a variety of tastes almost like wine. Especially in the temperate Mediterranean, the gnarled trees, which can reach a few hundred years old and grow up to 20 meters high, find ideal living conditions: plenty of sunshine, sufficient rainfall in the fall and no significant differences in temperature.
Extraction of olive oil
On average, an olive tree carries about 20 kilograms of olives per year, from which about 3 to 4 liters of olive oil can be obtained. The harvest requires a lot of tact. The olive oil farmer must choose this time very carefully, because the degree of ripeness of the olives essentially determines the quality and quantity of the oil to be extracted. It is said that the olives are ripe when their green turns into violet. Depending on the nature and location of the trees, this change takes place between October and the beginning of February.
When the olives have reached the oil mill quickly (the fresher the fruit, the greater the proportion of important phytochemicals) and in perfect condition, processing begins there:
- mechanical separation of branches and leaves
- careful washing
- Crushing and processing to pulp
- Pressing under pressure (maximum temperature effect of 27 ° C at cold pressing)
- Centrifugation and
- depending on the provider final filtration