Olive oil is a liquid obtained from olives, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions.
How Olive Oil is made
Olives are picked and then washed, then they’re crushed between two big stones, or by steel blades. The paste is then stirred so that it releases the oil droplets, this process is called maceration, then the oil is put in an in a centrifuge to remove out the oil and water. After the water is removed, the liquid which is retained is called olive oil.
Types Of Olive Oils
There are five different types of Olive Oil:
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin is the highest grade and best tasting Olive Oil, as it comes from the first pressing of fresh olives, normally within 24 hours of harvesting. its acidity level is less than 0.8%, and it is extracted by non-chemical, mechanical means, and without the use of excessive heat.
2. Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin Olive Oil also comes from the first pressing but has an acidity level of less than 2%, therefore, it is inferior to Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
3. Refined Olive Oil
This type of oil has been refined by using agents such as acids, alkalis, and heat to extract the maximum amount of olive oil, this results in fattier and more acidic oil which lacks taste, aroma and natural antioxidants when compared to Extra virgin olive oil.
4. Olive Pomace Oil
This is the lowest grade of olive oil, which is made from the byproducts of extra virgin olive oil production. This oil is extremely bland and low in antioxidants.
5. Lampante Oil
This oil is not for human consumption until it has been refined, this is because of the poor processing practices.