First Fun Fact: (do you see what I did there? *nerd*)
First off, did you know that the burning point of Olive Oil is much lower than, say, Ghee or Coconut Oil? A burning point (as briefly discussed in this post) is the time at which the fat starts to smoke and let off gas. When this happens it releases free radicals which are extremely dangerous for your health and are linked to a variety of diseases. So when you are in the kitchen, you want to be aware of your temperature usage. It's good to have a general knowledge of what fats to use for specific cooking methods. For Olive Oil, since the burning/smoke point is much lower (around 200-300) it's really best to use it as a condiment moreso than as a cooking oil. Think: drizzling over food, salad dressings, etc.
Second Silly Statement: (ok this isn't silly but you see my trend)
I bet you're saying, "Ok, so I know what to use Olive Oil for....but what kind do I buy?" Well, I'll tell ya! You want to look for Organic, Cold (Expeller) Pressed, Unrefined, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. GEEEEEEZE, right?! ..But hear me out.
Organic: You want organic because otherwise olive trees can be loaded with chemicals! Try reading all of this information in one night!?! You'll be a committed organic buyer in no time. Chemicals are used to kill insects, fungus, weeds etc. We should be careful not to consume these just like we would avoid other various household items that are meant to kill insects, fungus, weeds etc as they are harmful and dangerous to the body. Strangely enough, we spray chemicals on our plants and think it's ok but we would never cook with it! I found myself thinking this way, but when I realized the basic connection I saw how illogical it was. I realize there is a higher threshold of toxicity there...but the toxicity is still there my friends. To me, buying organic is now one of the most basic and important steps in moving towards a healthier lifestyle. So, when people ask me how to get healthy that is always my first thought and I encourage them to research the harmful affects of chemicals (and hormones for that matter) on our bodies. Ignorance is bliss, right? Yeah, sadly that applies to our food nowadays! So research for yourself what really goes on with our food before it gets to our plates and see if it changes your mindset. Honestly, I encourage you to do this! : )
Expeller Pressed/Cold Pressed: Expeller pressed means that the oil is extracted mechanically. Often, chemicals are used to pull the oil out of the food. Again, this is harmful to the body because it not only deteriorates the extracted oil but the chemicals are of course not good for consumption. If you buy expeller pressed then you are using the mechanical (chemical free) method of extraction. The raw food item is pressed until the oil is released. It does not pull as much oil and is therefore a tad bit pricer, but it's better for the environment, for your health and for those working to extract the oil. Cold Pressed is also expeller pressed, but is more regulated on how high the temperature can go during the process. Friction can be created when the oil is being pressed resulting in higher temperatures. The higher the heat temp, the less nutrients remain intact. So, if possible you want Cold Pressed which is a heat regulated version of Expeller Pressed.
Unrefined: Refined olive oils are those that I mentioned above that use chemicals to extract them. This will cause the flavor to diminish, which is helpful if you need a neutral oil, but at the cost of adding chemicals into your body (although for other oils there are chemical free methods to obtain a neutral flavored, refined oil). So, for olive oil specifically you want unrefined. Usually Expeller /Cold Pressed olive oils are also unrefined but it's good to be aware and on the lookout. Sadly, at this point in the game you really have to dig for the most natural, wholesome ingredients as they aren't as readily available.
Extra Virgin: This refers to how many presses it took to release the oil. It's best to have it pressed only once because this retains the most flavor and is the highest quality.
I could keep going on and on about how to buy olive oil. I am learning that there is such an art to pressing olive oil and it makes me appreciate the hard work that it takes to do it honestly to preserve the flavors and nutrients! If you want to read more, check this out.
Third Tasty Thought: (ok I promise this is the last one...)
Now that you know what to use olive oil for and how to buy it, you should probably know how to store it. Fortunately, this step is much simpler than the other two. You don't want to heat it (per the First Fun Fact) so store it in a cool place. Also, Olive Oil is not like wine -- it does NOT get better with time. You want to buy as fresh as possible and use it up quickly. As such, avoid buying in bulk. Instead buy small, fresh quantities often.
These facts are all specific to Olive Oil. Terms vary per oils and even brands. Do some research of your own and learn all there is to know about oils and how to use them in the most nourishing and enjoyable ways!
This is one of my favorite ways to use olive oil. It's simple, delicious and goes with everything!
Rosemary Olive Oil
Several Rosemary Sprigs
Glass jar with stopper or lid
- Place rosemary sprigs in glass jar (be sure to use a jar that is easy to pour).
- Pour olive oil into jar ensuring that it covers the entire length of the sprig.
- Close jar and let sit for a few hours.
- The longer the rosemary sits in the oil, the stronger the flavor.
I love to drizzle this on popcorn, vegetables, grains, potatoes... just about everything!! It's delicious!