Olive oil is considered the best dressing for cooking.
Olive oil is considered the best dressing for cooking. It is well known that olive oil cleans arteries reducing the risk of vascular diseases, if consumed in moderation. It carries out important actions for our health, fostering the growth and development of our children and helping the assimilation of vitamins and the cellular change.
Olive oil is mainly composed by triglyceride (98-99%). The fatty acids most present are oleic acid (65-80%), linoleic (< 13%) and palmitic acid (7-15%). It is rich with unsaturated fatty acids, as required by modern diets. Furthermore, it contains beta-carotene (provitamin A) and tocopherols (vitamin E), and a series of antioxidant substances (phenol compounds, etc.) which are fundamentals both for its conservation but also from a nutritional and anti-aging (antagonist of free radical) point of view. Fundamentals are also the phytosterols for their regulatory action on the cholesterol absorption.
Extra virgin olive oil, due to its characteristics and low acidity, is the best dressing.
Olive oil and olive pomace oil are blends of refined and virgin oils and thus present some of the key characteristics of the virgin oils.
Olive Oil for Cooking
Olive oil is generally used directly on food as a dressing, but it can also be used for cooking (at moderate temperature) and frying.
Olive oil is the only oil integrally obtained from squeezing the olives, each Italian region has its own extra virgin olive oils with different characteristics in taste and aroma. The consumer can choose the product that mostly pleases its taste and needs.
All the oils, including seed oils, when undergoing intense thermic treatments (cooking or frying) get altered, loosing nutritive value and creating toxic compounds (acrolein) or dioxin.
Olive oil, due to the low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, is the most suited for fried food since it resists, more easily, to high temperatures.
Scientific papers on olive oils, show evidence of its genuineness, digestibility and benefits for our health. Olive oil is directly used to season minestrone, bruschetta, fresh and steamed salad, pasta, etc.
In cooking phases olive oil is used for sautéing, roasting, stewing, braiseing, sauces and ragu. Thanks to its resistance to high temperature it is fundamental for frying, pizza and focaccia.
Olive Oils Classification
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Perfect taste, no olfactory nor gustatory defects, with acidity lower than 0.8%, obtained from healthy olives directly picked from the tree and immediately processed through mechanical or physical tools (olive mill, pressing, detachment). Furthermore, the oil quality is improved if the process is done through cold working i.e. through a particular type of pressing or dripping method performed with the Sinolea machine.
Virgin Olive Oil
Obtained from second choice olives with an acidity lower than 2%, it is always extracted through mechanical ways and it is used for sauces, preserves, in oil food, aromatized dressing and frying.
Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil
Obtained as the virgin olive oil but with maximum level of acidity equals to 3.3%.
Lampante Vergine Olive Oil
Mechanically obtained from olives in poor conditions, these are flawed oils with unpleasant smell and taste even if their acidity level is low. Lampante is the term used for oil that exceeds 3.35% of acidity, it can even exceed 20% at times, depending from locations, method of extraction, time between harvesting and processing. It is called Lampante because many years ago, when electricity was not widespread, it was used to light lamps.
Refined or Rectified Olive Oil
Refined or rectified olive oils are obtained from refinement or rectification, through alkalis of lampante virgin olive oil. After this process the acidity of the refined or rectified olive oils cannot exceed 0.5%.
It is obtained blending rectified olive oils with virgin oils. The acidity level cannot exceed 1.5%, the Italian law does not set a minimum quantity of virgin oils to be added. The olive oil is often used by canning factories (tuna, sardines, in oil food, etc.).
Olive Pomace Raw Oil
It is obtained by degreasing the olive-pomace with solvents (e.g. hexane). The same process is used to extract seed oils.
Olive Pomace Refined Oil
It is obtained by rectifying the olive-pomace raw oil or removing the acidity and bad smells through chemical processes (e.g. alkalis), bringing the acidity level to 0.5%. The same processes are used to rectify seed oils.
Olive Pomace Oil
As per the olive oil, it is created blending olive-pomace oils with virgin oils. The acidity level cannot exceed 1.5%, the Italian law does not set a minimum quantity of virgin oils to be added.
It has anti-oxidant effects due to the presence of free radicals: laxatives, febrifuges, stomach inflammation reduction agents.
Myocardial infraction, some types of tumors, arteriosclerosis, gastritis, ageing, osteoporosis.
It Reduces LDL ( Low Density Lipoprotein )
Percentage of cholesterol, sugar rate in the blood, arterial pressure, risks of arterial occlusions.
It Increases HDL ( High Density Lipoprotein )
Good cholesterol, secretion of bile, supply of vitamins A, D, ED and E, the absorption of other vitamins.
Some Reccomandations for Frying:
- use heat resistant oils;
- add salt or spices only after frying, since these accelerate oil alteration;
- dry the food before frying it;
- avoid temperature above 180° C, use deep fryers with thermostat;
- check the oil state during frying: oil alterations are highlighted by oil darkness, increased viscosity, creation of copious lather, smoke production;
- avoid adding fresh oil to used oil.
Recent research has proved that the extra-virgin oil is a natural aphrodisiac, thus a “natural viagra”.
Most Common Frauds
Olive oil has always been subjected to fraudelence due to the high production cost compared to other oils.
In particular the most common deceptions are the following:
- extra virgin oil that contains refined oils, both from olives and seeds;
- oils with standards not in compliance with EU regulations;
- coloured seed oils that can be sold as olive oils.