Olive Oil - A Gift from Nature...
You can enjoy the benefits of olive oil in everything from dips and dressings to skin care and shampoo.
Olive oil has been used in Mediterranean countries for thousands of years and is quickly becoming more popular here in North America and other parts of the world.
Its actually a pure fruit juice and unlike most seed or vegetable oils, it does not require any heat or chemicals to extract the oil and needs no refinement.
Olive oil can be consumed as is immediately after pressing. Find answers to your questions about the different grades, varieties, extraction processes , storage and shelf life.
Health and Nutrition
The reason olive oil is so good for us is because its high in mono unsaturated fat, vitamin E, and antioxidants. It contains 120 calories per tablespoon. All edible oils contain about the same amount of calories.
A healthy diet with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat is best. The Mediterranean food pyramid, which includes olive oil in place of other less healthy fats offers many health benefits.
A few of the benefits it's known for are lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure, protecting against colon, breast and skin cancers and reducing the incidence of gallstones. Learn more about the nutrients and other specific health benefits. Dieting with Olive Oil, Nutrients, Benefits
Cooking and Recipes
Olive oil can replace the fat in almost any recipe.
It offers more nutrition and flavour than vegetable and seed oils, remains stable when heated and has a relatively high smoke point.
Extra virgin oils that are higher in antioxidants and more flavourful are best for dips and dressings while less expensive virgin or refined oils are recommended by some for baking and frying, but I use extra virgin for everything.
I blend olive oil and butter together to make a more healthy table spread. Find a conversion chart for butter substitution, more about how to cook with olive oil and some great recipes on the pages listed under this section in the menu.
Personal Care and Other Uses
My search for natural soaps and shampoos is what really sparked my interest in olive oil. I was looking for products that were free of sodium laurel and laureth sulphates, parabens, synthetic thickeners, colours, preservatives and fragrances.
A pinch of rosemary and a drop of essential oil does not make a natural product as the manufacturers would lead you to believe.
There are good quality organic products out there that are no more expensive than department store products. They aren't cheap, but there are simple natural ingredients like olive oil, aloe, shea butter, apple cyder vinegar, etc, that you can use too.
Gifts and AccessoriesThere are many things you can make with olive oil and give away as gifts. I havent tried making soap yet, but I plan to and Ill let you know how that goes. I grow my own basil and love pesto. Since most people dont have the time or the inclination, I think it makes a yummy and thoughtful gift.
What about infused olive oil in a decorative bottle or a premium extra virgin olive oil instead of a bottle of wine?
I have found some absolutely beautiful accessories like hand painted ceramic dispensers, hand blown glass cruets, misters, dipping sets and oil lamps. What Olive Oil enthusiast wouldn't appreciate any one of these items as a gift?
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