Extra virgin olive oil

raccolta_scale_smSince ancient times, olive oil has been a precious commodity used by Mediterranean peoples as both food and as medicine. It was the essential ingredient in ointments intended for athletes and kings. Homer describes olive oil as "liquid gold."

Appreciated all over the world, olive oil is an important nutrient. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the use of olive oil which helps the body reduce "bad" cholesterol. Linoleic and the alpha-linoleic fats found in olive oil are essential for good health. These substances are not produced by the human body so they must be introduced through the diet. Since olive oil is as tasty as it is nutritious, it is easy to incorporate into a healthy way of eating.

Olive oil can be used as a replacement for any other oil or fat, not just in traditional Italian dishes, but in most other cuisines as well.

uscita_olio_smWith the vast array of olive oil available on the market today, in order to simplify the process of choosing one for your table there are a few things to look for when reading labels. Does it say "extra virgin"? Is it "cold pressed"? Both things insure that it is minimally processed so as not to loose the properties that make it good for you.

The date of production or pressing is also important since, after 18 to 24 months olive oil loses the fragrance and fruity taste which distinguishes young oil.

Geographical origin and variety of the olives will give more information as to the flavor of a particular oil. Although, a novice oil buyer may not be able to taste the difference in the beginning, with increased exposure to the world of olive oil, this will become an important factor.

Pay special attention to conservation and storage. Olive oil should be kept in dark bottles, not clear plastic, not in direct light and cool, but not refrigerated.