Olive Oil and SummersLeonardo Olive Oil June 28, 2016 Benefits of Olive Oil 2398 Views
While Olive oil is a great idea all year round, there is something about it that particularly screams “summer!” With the rise in temperature and a natural decrease in appetites, the body craves foods which are cool and light, and olive oil delivers in every way- whether it’s sprinkled over fresh pasta, poured over salads or even used in a simple pesto. Olive oil is not only versatile, but also extremely tasty.
Cooking with Olive Oil
Extra virgin oils, which are minimally processed, contain many desirable ‘impurities’ such as minerals and compounds that degrade rapidly when heated. It is comparatively heavy and viscous and thus ideal for dressing, flavouring and condiments. Its main culinary application is for cold dishes: to dress salads, pasta, rice, vegetables, meat and fish. You can also use it as a healthy butter substitute on your toast or roti.
Refined olive oils are a better choice for cooking, especially at higher temperatures, since the refining process removes the compounds which would otherwise be susceptible to burning. The smoke point of refined olive oil is about 410 degrees F, compared with just 325 degrees F for extra virgin, making it the best olive oil to use for frying or stir-frying.
Related: Going Beyond Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil as a Preservative
Traditionally, olive oil has also been used as an excellent natural preservative, and for centuries, people have been preserving various foods in olive oil. Olive oil is excellent for preserving vegetables, meats, fish, cheese and herbs. Olive oil is a natural preservative that prevents spoilage by forming a protective barrier between the food and air, providing a seal that can delay oxidation, deterioration and moulding. Canning fresh produce not only preserves freshness, but is also an excellent way to save money and be reminded of summer all year round. If nothing else, it’s the perfect way to bring together the entire family and keep children occupied during their summer vacation.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Taste aside, olive oil also has multiple health benefits, which we often lose sight of in the stifling heat. For example, the Mediterranean diet, in which virgin olive oil is liberally used, is feted as one of the healthiest diets in the world, as it encourages eating plenty of nuts, fish, whole grains and vegetables while eating less processed foods. Consumption of olive oil promotes an increase in good fats (monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated) and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Beauty Treatments with Olive Oil
And while you reap the benefits internally, olive oil is also a great cure-all and ideal for maintaining skin and health care. It’s the perfect remedy to soothe burnt and reddened skin, cracked and dry heels, blisters, dry hair and even acne.
For nasty sunburns, just mix oil with an equal amount of water and apply to affected area, for blisters, make a compress of warm olive oil and chamomile tea. Cracked and dry feet can benefit from a simple scrub, using three tbps olive oil, honey, sugar and lemon juice. Once the concoction is made, clean your feet with warm water, then rub the mixture onto feet, massage and rinse
Although summer is synonymous with dry, brittle hair, it doesn’t need to be. Heat half a cup of olive oil and apply to hair, cover hair with a shower cap and a towel and let it sit for 45 minutes. Shampoo and rinse and get ready for the compliments to roll in!
So there you have it, tasty, healthy and versatile. Olive oil may not be able to directly save you from the summer blaze, but it can certainly help ease you into the hotter months, with its multiple benefits.