Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Uses for olive oil

Our use of olive oil dates back prior to 3500 BC and today over three quarters of a billion olive trees are cultivated around the world. One of the amazing things about olive trees are the conditions in which they can grow. While originating from the Mediterranean, there are thriving olive industries in many countries, including Australia, and I've seen them thrive in some very harsh conditions over here.

Olive oil grades

In case you've ever wondered about the various olive oil grades, here are a few of the common ones:

Extra-virgin: comes from the first pressing of the olives; the best quality

Virgin: has an acidity less than 2% and no refined oil content

Pure olive oil: Usually a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. Refining is carried out using charcoal or other chemical filters.

Extra light: More of a marketing term than a grade. Usually highly processed, may be mixed with other oils, or may be just pure olive oil grade. The "light" refers to flavor rather than caloric content.

Pomace, cake or lampante: not intended for human consumption, and generally used for industrial purposes, such as soap making or lamp oil.

Non-food usage tips for olive oil

We're familiar with olive oil in relation to cooking, but there are so many other ways it can be used; often avoiding the need to use synthetic chemicals, compounds and substances that aren't very environmentally friendly. For these tips, you don't need to use the best grade of olive oil.

- After polishing copper or brass, rub it with a little olive oil to slow down the reoccurrence of tarnish

- Can be used as a stainless steel cleaner; apply sparingly

- Rub olive oil into wooden cutting boards to help prevent cracking, repel staining and marking

- Remove paint from hair or skin by dabbing a cotton ball dipped in olive to the affected area

- Use it as an alternative for de-squeaking hinges

- Olive oil can help unjam zippers - use a cotton bud to apply

- Apply a little olive oil to your shoes to restore their shine

- Old leather can be made more supple by rubbing in olive oil (spot test first)

- Coat garden tool blades with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent dirt sticking to them and to help prevent rusting. This works really well!

- Mix one part lemon juice with 3 parts olive oil to make a wooden furniture polish

- Rub into to fingernails before and after manicuring

- A small amount of olive oil applied after shampooing can substitute hair conditioner.

- Extra light olive oil can be used as a massage oil

- Olive oil can replace shaving cream or shaving oil

- Dip a razor into olive oil after use to prevent the blade rusting

- Can be applied to chapped lips to to relieve the dryness

- Use as a makeup remover

A teaspoon of olive oil can help soothe a tickling or sore throat (I've tried it and it has provided some relief) and in some cases if taken just before bed, some say it can alleviate snoring :).

What non-food uses have you found for olive oil? Please share your ideas below!


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