From the earliest known uses in antiquity to today’s rediscovered Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been a major player on the world’s stage. It was a common belief in the ancient world that olive oil conferred strength and youth. In addition to being used in food, it was an ingredient in religious rituals, medicines, as fuel for oil lamps, soap making and skin application. In the cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, in order to produce both medicine and cosmetics the oil was often infused with flowers and grasses. Olive oil symbolized healing and strength.
Throughout history, olive oil has been a precious commodity and seen as a sign of wealth. Some ancient rulers were even buried with barrels of olive oil to denote their wealth and power. Today, the virtues of olive oil are known worldwide and have been made affordable for most consumers.
At Sara’s Market and Bakery, we specialize in top brands produced in Italy, Chile, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey and much of our olive oil is categorized as “extra virgin.” “This means once the olives were picked and washed, they were pressed and no other processing occurred. The lack of extra processing is why health experts state “extra virgin” has the greatest amount of health benefits.
“Cold pressed” means that there is no added heat to the oil during production. Heat can change the composition of oil and the “cold pressed” oil ensures the oil is the best condition possible before purchase. Any oil can become rancid if it’s not properly stored. Olive oil should be kept in a dark bottle or stored in a dark place, out of direct light. One olive oil expert suggests wrapping the oil in aluminum foil in order to completely block out the light. When cooking, remember to keep olive oil away from the constant heat of the stove. Heat can also speed up the shelf life of the olive oil.
Olive oil is high in calories but it is made up of monosaturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends that 25 to 35 percent of our calories should come from this type of fat. Switching from olive oil from butter can reduce your bad cholesterol and increase the good. Olive oil also has 8 percent (check this fact) of the recommended intake for vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. These are a few reasons the Mediterranean diet suggests olive oil can lead to a healthier lifestyle. (From ulcers to osteoporosis, olive oil has been linked to lower incidences of many illnesses and ailments, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. See our http://www.blog about the Mediterranean diet for more of the important health benefits.
In addition to traditional olive oil, Sara’s also features grapeseed, sunflower, white truffle and ginger oil as well as a few different options for dipping oils. These oils have been infused with other flavors, like garlic, or include a blend of herbs, salt and pepper so it is ready with flavor so you don’t have to add anything else when preparing a meal..
Here are some great recipes to get olive oil into your everyday cooking. Don’t forget to use olive oil when baking, grilling, sautéing or even just in your salad dressing.