The question persists; what is the difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.
The answer is simple. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) must first be pressed within 24 – 48-hours of harvest. It cannot be heated when pressed, beyond 181 degrees Fahrenheit. And, it must have no chemical extractions or manipulation. Olive oil will receive the title of ‘Virgin’ once it goes through a second round of pressing and will simply be called olive oil if it passes through a third round. The different pressings will change how the olive tastes and what nutritional benefits are maintained in the oil.
EVOO specifically, is often used just as a finishing or dipping oil. You can cook with it, but if you’re buying and consuming it for health benefits, then cooking will break down those yummy nutrients. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), olive oil is predominantly (73 percent) made up of a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which has multiple healthy attributes. Oleic acid helps reduce inflammation, and some studies show beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. In fact, studies have shown Mediterranean countries have a lower risk of some cancers. Greece has the highest amount of consumption (1/2 cup) of olive oil a day, which leads researchers to believe olive oil may have a contributing factor in their lower risk of cancer.
Along with the oleic acid, Americans don’t get enough Omega-3’s in their diet. The AHA actually recommends 2 tablespoons of EVOO a day to help fight heart disease, unblock arteries and manage irregular heart beats. The National Center for Biotechnology Information found olive oil supplementation is a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce oxidative stress in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidants alone, assist in decreasing bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Olive Oil can also be linked to fighting Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and strokes.
The list of ‘Pros’ never seems end.
If all these amazing benefits haven’t made you salivate, try these savory recipes from We Olive that are not only mouthwatering, but healthy too.
Ingredients (Makes 24 Appetizers)
12 dates, cut in half lengthwise, pit removed
2 ounces sliced prosciutto, torn into 24 strips
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup Organic Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
Blood Orange Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese with the Lemon Olive Oil and mix well. Place the date halves cut side up and using a small spoon, place a teaspoon of the lemon goat cheese in the center of the date. Place a stuffed date half on the largest end of the prosciutto slice and roll the prosciutto tightly around the date. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 8 minutes until prosciutto is crisp and dates are heated through. To serve, skewer with toothpicks, drizzle with Blood Orange Balsamic and sprinkle with crushed walnuts.
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped basil
2 tablespoon We Olive Olio Nuovo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Maldon sea salt or other coarse finishing salt
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta and herbs together just to combine. Place the herbed ricotta in a serving dish and finish with Olio Nuovo and a sprinkling salt. Serve with toasted baguette slices brushed with We Olive Fresh Garlic Olive Oil and top with chopped pistachios if using.
Ingredients (Makes 1 flatbread)
1 pre-baked pizza or flatbread crust
1 1/2 tablespoons jarred roasted red tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons We Olive Black Olive Tapenade
1 ounce pepperoni, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, chopped
2 table spoons chopped peppadew peppers
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoonsWe Olive Fresh Garlic Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons We Olive Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Preheat oven according to pre-baked pizza crust manufacturer’s directions.
In a small bowl, combine the chopped roasted tomatoes and the tapenade. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the pre-baked crust, covering the entire surface. Distribute the pepperoni, peppadews, onions, and olives evenly over the flatbread.
Toss the sliced kale with the Arbequina EVOO and place evenly over the top of the flatbread. Top with ricotta cheese. Bake according to pre-baked crust manufacturer’s directions. Meanwhile, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Remove the flatbread from the oven when cooked and cut into equal servings. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and serve.
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