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Busting four myths about olive oil


Olive is a gift of God, especially due to the numerous health benefits it offers. It is a gold standard when it comes to edible

Whether making the heart healthy or regulating sugar levels or bringing with itself vitamins and antioxidants, olive is an ideal companion for all who wish to lead a healthy life.

But due to a lack of precise knowledge about this oil, some are reluctant to make it part of their daily lives. This is, to some extent, a result of all the crazy marketing out there: Peruse the olive oils in a typical grocery store and you'll be greeted by all kinds of terminology.

Some of it is confusing -- like "pure" and "extra-virgin" -- which is better? Other terms are just pointless -- "cold-pressed", for example, doesn't really mean much. Basically, all extra-virgin olive is cold-pressed.

So it's time we debunk some of the myths about this beneficial Mediterranean favourite.

Myth #1: If olive gets cloudy or solidifies in the refrigerator, it is 100 per cent authentic and of high quality.

Fact: There is no home test to check for olive authenticity. Some oils get cloudy in the refrigerator and some don't. Quality is best checked through taste and smell -- authenticity is best tested in a properly-equipped lab.

Myth #2: A very green colour indicates high quality olive

Fact: Colour is not an indicator of the oil's quality. Quality olive isn't a generic product. Factors like olive variety, growing conditions and country of origin create variability in colour -- from pale yellow to dark green -- and how fast the will cloud or solidify in the refrigerator.

Myth #3: Heat diminishes olive oil's health benefits; so it is best to use extra virgin olive "raw" or straight from the bottle.

Fact: Flavour may change when heated, but the health benefits remain. You can cook with all types of olive without losing health benefits because their smoking point is higher than most other cooking oils.

Myth #4: Olive cannot be used for cooking, frying and sauteing.

Fact: You can cook on high heat with olive Here, the answer lies in understanding the various grades of olive In India, one can most certainly find three grades of olive -- extra virgin, classic/pure and extra light and, lastly, pomace, which is a chemically extracted variant of olive

The difference lies in the taste, aroma and smoking point. Extra virgin olive has a strong flavour of olives and low smoking point as it is obtained from cold pressing. Pure olive is obtained from refining olive oil, so its smoking point is high but has the flavour of olives, so it can be heated and used for cooking pizzas, pastas, sauteing vegetables et al. Extra light has neutral/no flavour of olives and be used for everyday cooking/frying in Indian kitchens.

Need any more persuasion about the benefits of olive

(Rajneesh Bhasin, Managing Director of Borges India, is an expert on olive oil)



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 14 2017. 12:34 IST