Healthy eating is healthy living. Small changes in our daily food habits can make a big difference on our overall health. One such change is switching to olive oil for cooking!
Olive oil is the extracted fat from olives, a traditional fruit found in the Mediterranean region. The oil is produced by pressing and grinding the olives by mechanical means.
Olive oil is an ancient cooking ingredient used across the world. Best known for its benefits, low fat content, flavour, and aroma, it is now a must have in all kitchens.
Varieties Of Olive Oil:
Olive oil comes in different varieties, each with its own set of characteristics. Here are the broad categories of olive oil:
- Virgin: Virgin olive oil has a slightly higher level of acidity compared to extra virgin, but you can use it in the same way like normal cooking oil.
- Extra Virgin: Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil available. The yellow-green oil is full of flavour, but the flavour decreases when you heat the oil. It is therefore best suited for salad dressings and marinades.
- Pure: After the virgin oil has been removed, the remaining olive is refined, processed and blended with a small amount of virgin oil to make pure olive oil. It has a mild flavor and is a good cooking oil option.
- Pomace: Olive pomace oil is extracted from the remaining pulp of the olive from which oil has already been pressed out. Pomace oil is the last grade of olive oil that has been refined and is often used for deep frying foods. It retains some of the health benefits and characteristics of olive oil.
Cooking With Olive Oil:
Different olive oils work differently. Olive oil can be used for sautéing, browning, stir-frying, deep frying etc. It can also be used as an ingredient in marinades and sauces, such as mayonnaise, pesto, or romesco; and as a condiment, drizzled over various dishes. It is also popular as a bread dipper or simply dabbed on a toasted piece of country bread that has been scratched with a clove of garlic.
Strong and robust extra virgin olive oil can be used for cooking fish, meat, to make marinades, or to drizzle. A medium intensity extra virgin olive oil is great on mozzarella or for bread dipping. Mellow late harvest extra virgin oil could be used in baking a cake or to make mayonnaise. Olive oil or virgin olive oil is good for frying and sautéing too.
Excessively heating olive oil evaporates the alcohols and esters that make up its delicate taste and fragrance. Less expensive variant can be used for frying and a more flavourful variant can be added as a dressing. A tablespoon of olive oil has roughly 120 calories. If stored in an air tight container in a cool and dark place, it can stay fresh for up to 1 year.
9 Best Olive Oils That Are Available In India:
Here are 10 best cooking olive oil available in India.
1. Borges Olive Oil:
Borges India has launched olive oil in 3 different varieties catering to the needs of the Indian style cooking, namely Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for salads and dressing as a substitute to butter and ghee. Borges olive oil for rich flavour is ideal for pizza, pastas, and Mediterranean dishes; and Borges olive oil for light flavour is suitable for Indian cooking. Aromatic olive oil – olive oil is infused with fresh herbs. Borges Olive Oil is available in 250ml, 500ml, 1l and 5l bottles.
Price: Rs. 200 – 3500
2. Azafran Organic Olive Oil:
Azafran organic oils and infuses provide a wide range of infused and extra virgin Greek olive oils. Olive oil infused with herbs, such as garlic, bell pepper, organic basil and chilli gives an outstanding flavour to any dish it is added to. It is available in 100ml glass bottles mostly.
Price: Rs.150 – 200
3. Bertolli Olive Oil:
Bertolli olive oil is one of the oldest and finest olive oils available in India. Bertolli has olive oil varieties, suitable for all types of Indian cooking techniques. You can choose from cold use olive oil, Bertolli original rich flavour-extra virgin olive oil to give a generous taste and fragrance to the dish when used as dressing. Hot usage – Extra light and Classico olive oils can be used as a replacement to vegetable oil for frying and stir frying. It is available in 250/50 ml or 1l bottles.
Price: Rs. 200 – 2000
4. Leonardo Olive Oil:
Dalmia continental brings Leonardo olive oil range from Italy to India. Available in 3 grades – extra virgin, classic and pomace olive oil, they offer the best of all olive oil varieties.
Price: Rs. 250 – 4000
5. Figaro Olive Oil:
Figaro is the oldest olive oil manufacturing company in India. For long, Figaro was synonymous with olive oil in India. It is available almost everywhere, since it is produced in India itself. This extra virgin olive oil is available in 250ML, 500ML and 1L glass bottles. Pure olive oil comes in a tin can of 250/500ml or 1/5L.
Price: Rs. 400 – 4000
6. Gaia Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Available in 2 varieties, such as extra virgin olive oil and light olive oil- GAIA is one of the finest cooking olive oils available in the market. It is made up of nano micronized powder that makes it 100% absorbable with zero wastage. Known for its properties to reduce weight and control cholesterol, GAIA olive oil comes in 250 and 500 ml bottles.
Price: Rs. 500
7. Del Monte Olive Oil:
Del Monte offers extra virgin olive oil and pomace olive oil in 250 ml/ 500 ml or 1-5l pet bottles. It is widely available in India and is the preferred option for many, thanks to its low cost.
Price: Rs. 650 – 1200
8. Farrell Olive Oil:
Jindal Retail has collaborated with few leading international FMCG companies to establish its own brand Farrell. It caters the Indian taste buds with international flavour. This brand offers extra virgin olive oil, pure olive oil and pomace olive oil. Not only for cooking, these oils can be used as moisturizing oil for lips, skin, and hair too. It is available in 500ml and 1/5l options.
Price: Rs. 600 – 1500
9. Oleev Olive Oil:
Oleev is an India-based oil refining company that specializes in olive oil. They produce extra virgin olive oil, extra light olive oil, and pomace olive oil. You can also try Oleev active oil (a blend of olive oil with rice bran oil). The product is very well reviewed by top chefs and nutritionists in India.
Price: Rs. 495 onwards
Nutrition And Health Benefits:
Olive oil is known as the health oil, thanks to its abundant health benefits. Here are a few reasons why your kitchen should make way for olive oil:
1. Prevents Cholesterol And Heart Disease:
Olive oil mainly comprises of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, a healthier type of fat that is known to reduce the low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), and increase the high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol). Cholesterol levels in turn determine heart health. The Mediterranean diet is proved to show 40% lesser heart problems, since they are cooked in olive oil.
2. Keeps Cancer Away:
Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory agents, like oleocanthal, that act as a natural ibuprofen-like substance. Studies show that olive oil may play a part in reducing the risk of some types of cancer, particularly colon, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
3. Reduces Diabetes And Blood Pressure:
Recent studies show that olive oil intake on daily basis reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. A diet rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, and containing adequate fibre and carbohydrates can control blood sugar levels, insulin levels and maintain regulated lipoprotein levels in the body.
4. Treats Depression And Stress:
High quality extra virgin olive oils contain anti-oxidants, such as polyphenols, Vitamins E and K, chlorophyll and carotenoids. Antioxidants help build a strong immunity system. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamin E. It also works as a natural anti-depressant.
5. Prevents Arthritis And Osteoporosis:
Studies have shown that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of osteoporosis and arthritis.
6. Aids Weight Loss:
Since olive oil contains what is called the ‘good’ fats, replacing the regular cooking oil with olive oil can help manage and regulate weight loss. Olive oil helps to eliminate toxins from the body too.
Yes, olive oil is a little costlier than other cooking oils. But considering the benefits, that’s a small price to pay! So, bring home olive oil, bring home good health!
Do you use olive oil? Do you use it for hair/body care rather than cooking? Do you prefer foods cooked in olive oil? Share your views with us in the comments section below.