A homemade salad can be more satisfying if you drizzle good oils over it!
For those of you who subscribe to, or would like to try out the Mediterranean diet, you would know that the use of olive oil features prominently in that region.
The reason it enjoys its popularity is because it is perceived as part of a healthy diet. In the Mediterranean region, it is noted that there are fewer instances of coronary heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disease that plague the modern society.
I like to have a bottle on hand because of its versatility. I use it in a variety of raw or cooked dishes. Some examples:
- Tossed in salads with my favorite greens and nuts so that they are more filling
- It is also my preferred grease in pan-fried meat and fish dishes
- The simplest (and most delightful) way, to me, is to drizzle it over potatoes or shredded kale for baking!
Now, with uses so varied, and with its promising nutritional content, it is probably worthwhile to give yourself an education in the different types of olive oils and what they mean.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is of the most superior quality, with a low acidity content, and can be recognized by its dark green color.
It is essentially olive fruit juices that have been pressed, without additives, or further processing by heat or chemicals. As such, it retains its original flavor, as well as its full nutritional value.
Virgin Olive Oil
Like the above, these have been pressed without additional processing. However, it differs in its quality because of its higher acidity content.
To recognize it visually, it is orangey or dark yellow in color.
100% Olive Oil
This is the most common type on the market and you can recognize it by its light yellow color. It is made by processing lower grade varieties, and mixing this with some extra virgin olive oil.
Because of this, it is more affordable, though its nutritional value is lower.
Here are 2 simple guidelines for choosing and storing what you buy!
Look for a low acidity content
A lower acidity content ensures a better flavor, which you would want to enjoy in your cooking!
Get one that is stored in a dark glass bottle
These will have minimal chemical reaction compared to those stored in plastic bottles. Also, the tinted glass prevents direct sunlight from interacting with the contents and changing its properties.
As a natural extension, it would make sense to keep your store-bought bottle away from direct sunlight to retain its good qualities.