Olive oil is made from the oil extracted from olives. However, there is more to it than that!
There are 3 main types of olive oil: extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and olive oil (sometimes referred to as pure olive oil).
Olive oil is made by refining extra virgin olive oil. The refining process removes the residues that are in virgin olive oil. This makes the oil clear, flavourless but significantly prolongs the shelf life of the product. It is then blended with a little virgin olive oil for a suggestion of colour and flavour. Because of its lack of flavour is commonly used in cooking like roasting, baking, or frying.
Olive oil is a common food preservative, it prevents pasta from clumping together while boiling, it can be used in cake making instead of butter and it is also a key ingredient in mayonnaise.
Virgin olive oils are usually used for dipping bread, salad dressings and dips as they have a stronger flavour. However, it is all down to personal preference, olive oil can be used instead!
You usually buy them in bottles but they also come in sprays for ease of use. Its smoking point depends on the quality but it is usually between 199-243°C or 390-470°F.
Olive oil nutrition facts
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which reduce your levels of cholesterol in your blood. Per 100g or olive oil, there are about 884 calories (bear in mind you only consume oil in small amounts). Olive oil does not contain any carbohydrates or sugar.
Olive oil alternative
- Rapeseed oil – is probably the best alternative. Like olive oil, rapeseed oil contains monounsaturated fats and it can be used in many of the same ways as olive oil, such as in salad dressings, roasting and frying.
- Sunflower oil – is high in vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. It has a mild flavour so they can be used for a variety of purposes.
- Peanut Oil – has a mild flavour and high smoke point, but it can also be substituted for olive oil in salad dressings and marinades. It also has a long shelf life so its perfect, if you don’t cook much!