Olive oil has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. There is hardly an Italian, Greek, or Spanish kitchen considered complete without it. But beyond its ability to add fresh, fruity notes to food, olive oil is touted as a cure-all for the body. As a fat relatively low in saturated fat, it has become the go-to oil for those watching cholesterol levels and its even been touted as dermatological wunderkind because of its anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe dermatitis.
But there are a few things that have been misunderstood about it by many.
Olive Oil Comes in Different Colors. The color of olive oil might change slightly overtime as it oxidizes, but olive oil naturally comes in a range of colors from pale yellow to deep golden to green. The more chlorophyll present in the oil, the greener the product will be. Green oils tend to be higher in antioxidants and have a more intense peppery flavor with just a hint of bitterness.
Spain is the largest producer of Olive Oil. 95 percent of the world’s olive oil supply comes from the Mediterranean, with Spain producing 50 percent of the total world supply. Italy is the second-largest olive oil producer, processing about 15 percent.
Greeks consume more than 5 gallons of olive oil a year per person on average. That is a lot of olive oil and dwarfs the U.S. per capita consumption of a little more than one liter.
Olive oil doesn’t thrive with heat, oxygen and light.
It is best to store olive oil in a cool, dark place away from light and heat, which will speed up oxidation, causing the oil to become rancid faster.
Cloudy looking olive oil is safe to use. can appear cloudy for many reasons, including it is an unfiltered olive oil (which just means the sediment and pulp was not removed) to chilling (cold olive oil can take on a cloudy appearance). The sediment in unfiltered olive oils is nothing more than pieces of olive that actually add flavor to the oil. To clear olive oil that has become cloudy because of temperature, just leave out at room temperature. The saturated fat that congealed in the cold will settle naturally.