Category Archives: Olive Oil

oliveoil

Olive Oil Cooking Techniques

Drizzle

Olive oil retains most of its taste and heath qualities if it is used “raw.” Most people are familiar with drizzling olive oil on their salad. It is important to carry this concept over to other foods after they’ve been cooked. Instead of only seasoning food with salt and pepper at the table, olive oil can be substituted. A small drizzle of high quality olive oil can dramatically enhance the natural taste and flavor of meats and vegetables. Flavored, naturally infused olive oils add another dimension to the flavor possibilities. The vinaigrettes in our recipe section can be drizzled directly onto salads.

Drizzle oil on top of your pasta, meat and vegetables. Don’t forget eggs and oatmeal! Mix olive oil into potatoes, rice and grains.

Marinade

Another way to use raw olive oil is to marinate food. Meat and vegetable marinades can transform a simple dish into a “Wow, this is fantastic!” dish. In addition to seasonings and rubs, olive oil can dramatically enhance the flavor of food prior to cooking. The marinade that is absorbed into the surface of the food helps seal the outer layer of the food to retain taste, texture and moisture. It is also important to note that marinades can reduce free radicals that can form on food surfaces during the cooking of meats.

Marinating time varies depending on the size and cut of meat or fish. Fish usually requires only an hour while steaks and chops normally take two to three hours. Roasts benefit from a couple of days. Longer marinating times require refrigeration.

Marinate chicken, steaks and chops. Marinate and baste veggies for the grill. Try some of the marinades suggested in our recipe section or create your own!

Sauté

Cooking foods with high heat for a short period of time can enhance the flavors of certain foods. A small amount of olive oil is typically introduced into a sauté pan along with onions and garlic. The oil in the pan seals the outside of the food to lock in natural flavor and moisture. With proper heat, a minimal amount of oil is absorbed into the food.

Sauté onions and garlic for seasoning while cooking a meal or prepare as a side dish for the table. Sauté fish and vegetables.

Roast

An oven provides a perfect controlled-temperature cooking atmosphere. A small amount of olive oil can be drizzled or basted on meats and vegetables to coat the surface of the food so that it can be cooked at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. This oil is also absorbed into the foods as it cooks to enhance the natural flavor of the food. Besides being delicious on salads, vinaigrettes can be drizzled or basted on meats and vegetables during roasting and broiling.

Slow cook roasts, potatoes and carrots. Broil marinated meats and vegetables.

Bake

The use of olive oil in baking significantly cuts the cholesterol and saturated fat content of bread and pastries. It produces lighter tasting baked goods and enhances the flavor of the other ingredients. Of course drizzling olive oil on the finished baked goods is icing on the cake!

Bake pizzas, biscotti, focaccia, breads, cookies and pastries. Be creative and you will be surprised how healthful and tasty your baking can be.

Frying With Olive Oil

To make food more appetizing, people use a number of cooking methods such as boiling, baking, smoking and frying. The highest cooking temperatures are reached during frying.

The temperature inside fried foods remains almost constant at 212°F until its water content evaporates. At that point, the hot oil can penetrate. The food cooks quickly, and the loss of nutritional value is less than seen during other cooking methods. A crust forms on the outside of the food as a result of the reaction with the hot oil. This coagulates proteins and caramalizes the glycides. As a result, less fat is consumed during frying than with other cooking methods because the oil is not absorbed by the food. Olive oil is best suited to frying due to its higher resistance to oxidative deterioration.

Oil and olives

Olive Oil Health Benefits

Comprehensive product information is constantly supplied to consumers. In many cases this information is subjective because it is provided by the companies that produce the product. Other sources of information are more objective and factual because they are generated by scientific or technical studies. The beneficial effects of consuming olive oil are backed by lengthy scientific research.

Olive oil’s biological and therapeutic value is related to its chemical structure. The triglycerides’ composition, made up of fatty acids, is mainly monounsaturated, oleic acid, which is easy for the body to process. Olive oil contains the highest percentage of monounsaturated fat than any other edible oil. Other oils contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated fat. These are essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the body. Olive oil also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids but it averages a very low 15%.

Additional components of the olive oil are also extremely beneficial. The most important of these are the tocopherols (alpha-tocopherol which acts as vitamin E), carotene (as vitamin A) and polyphenols (catechins). All of these components have a major antioxidant function and are closely connected with the extra virgin olive oils. Cold-press, extra virgin olive oil is not heated or treated with solvents, so it retains the most health benefits.

Digestive System

Olive oil benefits the digestive system in many ways. Its natural qualities allow olive oil to protect the lining of the stomach. Since ancient times, olive oil has been described as having a beneficial effect on gastritis and duodenal ulcers due to its protective function. Patients suffering from ulcers from animal fat diets can reduce their lesions in many cases but will still require prescription drug therapy. The moral of the story is prevention.

Olive oil has a very positive effect on appeasing the gallbladder after a diet offense. It has a more acute, gentle and prolonged action than prescribed drugs and other foods that have similar effects. Olive oil inhibits liver bile secretion during the emptying time and therefore can be considered an anti-irritant and used as a medicinal food.

Gallstones are a wide spread illness that is related to the metabolism of fats. This illness is found to a greater extent in economically developed counties due to a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. This leads to increased bilary excretion of cholesterol and a reduction in bile acids. Foods rich in saturated and polyunsaturated fats play a major role in the formation of gallstones. Olive oil, which is monounsaturated, can be said to have a protective effect against the formation of gallstones due to the way in which it activates bile flow and increases HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

Aging

Food provides human beings with the energy necessary for the renewal and continuation of life. Each cell inherits a program that allows the cells to replicate an unlimited number of times. Errors in the replication process can occur, but the errors are usually corrected during our youth. As we age, these errors can multiply and consolidate in certain areas of the body producing ill health. A diet rich in animal and polyunsaturated fatty acids can lead to oxidative radicals that expose cells to a greater number of errors. Olive oil, which is mostly unsaturated fatty acids and rich in vitamin A and E, works as an antioxidant that is extremely helpful in healthy cell reproduction.

Bone calcification is a serious problem that is common in the elderly. Olive oil seems to have a positive effect on bones. The beneficial effect appears to be dose dependent. The more olive oil consumed the better the bone mineralization obtained. The explanation might lie in the large amounts of oleates in the structural lipids of bones.

As we mature, we have reduced digestive capacity and experience poor absorption of nutrients, especially of vitamins and mineral salts. Olive oil has excellent characteristics with regard to digestibility and absorption. Whether oil is consumed cooked, fried, or best of all raw (to make the most of its vitamin and antioxidant content), olive oil not only makes food more appetizing but it also aids in digestion as well.

Atherosclerosis

The incidence of atherosclerosis is closely linked to dietary habits. A diet rich in animal fat contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats. These fats raise “bad” plasma cholesterol levels. Diets rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil, tend to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels. Numerous studies have confirmed a correlation between elevated plasma LDL levels and atherosclerosis. It also shows a positive correlation between HDL and a longer healthier life expectancy.

Any treatment of hypercholesterol must begin by lowering saturated fat intake. The suppression of these fats produces a reduction in plasma cholesterol. With the substitution of olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturates, the total cholesterol is approximately equal to that obtained through the reduction of saturated fat intake.