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The Many Wonders of Olives and Olive Oil

Aug. 30, 2012
Julie Butler

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An olive oil mix with extra antiox­i­dant kick

About one per­cent of an extra vir­gin olive oil con­sists of minor com­po­nents that define its taste and smell and among these are toco­pherols and bio­phe­nols, major antiox­i­dants which can be use­ful for pre­vent­ing the oxi­di­s­a­tion of lipopro­teins and for reduc­ing free rad­i­cals, as well as pro­vid­ing pos­i­tive bio­med­ical effects at car­dio­vas­cu­lar level, in com­bat­ing ill­nesses tied to old age and stop­ping tumour growth”, another appli­ca­tion says.

But there are dif­fer­ent kinds of bio­phe­nols — exam­ples of which are hydrox­y­ty­rosol, tyrosol, and lig­nans — and their quan­ti­ties vary greatly in olive oil prod­ucts. Multivarietal blends usu­ally have a stan­dard qual­ity and an aver­age quan­tity of bio­phe­nols while mono­va­ri­etals may have a high over­all level but con­cen­trated in cer­tain bio­phe­nols.

Thus this mix­ture of olive oils is designed to not only deliver high qual­ity in organolep­tic and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties but also a high over­all bio­phe­nol con­tent that is evenly dis­trib­uted among the var­i­ous classes of com­pounds.

One form would be an EVOO mix where one oil is Picual or Cornicabra and the sec­ond is Coratina or Moraiolo.

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Olive oil based choco­late and other fla­vored spreads

Olive oil’s health ben­e­fits — and par­tic­u­larly those of extra vir­gin grade — include being rich in nutri­tional com­po­nents, such as oleic acid (a monoun­sat­u­rated fat) and in var­i­ous antiox­i­dants such as vit­a­min E, carotenoids, and oleu­ropein, which may inhibit the oxi­da­tion of LDL par­ti­cles, this appli­ca­tion for fla­vored food spreads says.

Solid fats are usu­ally used in spreads to pro­mote prod­uct sta­bil­ity and shelf life, but they may con­tain lots of trans fatty acids con­sid­ered unhealthy, it says.

And while the use of extra vir­gin olive oil can pro­vide spreads with the high­est con­cen­tra­tions of nutri­ents and other sub­stances that are advan­ta­geous from a health stand­point,” the draw­backs include that olive oils are usu­ally liq­uid at room tem­per­a­ture and their com­plex fla­vor pro­files can over­whelm taste.

However, the process in this appli­ca­tion from Israel is said to result in spreads that are solid at room tem­per­a­ture yet free or largely free of hydro­genated or par­tially hydro­genated fats and oils, and of trans fatty acids, with­out com­pro­mis­ing fla­vor.

Sizzling olive oil sausages

Olive oil, espe­cially vir­gin or extra vir­gin, is pre­ferred for this method of prepar­ing meat-based prod­ucts — such as burger pat­ties, sausages and pate — where oil replaces some or all of the ani­mal fat.

Replacing ani­mal fat with edi­ble oil is desir­able because of the lower cho­les­terol con­tent and higher ratio of unsat­u­rated to sat­u­rated fatty acids, the appli­ca­tion says.

But putting liq­uid oils in meat prod­ucts often has unde­sir­able results and sta­bil­ity prob­lems. While addi­tives can stop the oil leak­ing out, con­sumers are attracted by both low sat­u­rated fat” and reduced addi­tives” food­stuffs.

This inven­tion there­fore aims to meet the need for a new method allow­ing sta­ble inclu­sion of the oil but with less addi­tives.

Importantly, phe­no­lic com­pounds in olive oil — such as hydrox­y­ty­rosol and tyrosol — can be main­tained with this method, the appli­ca­tion says.

Fancy some olive oil cheese?

Olive oil is also the pre­ferred edi­ble oil to sub­sti­tute some of the dairy fat in a milk-based prod­uct — such as a cheese, ice cream, cus­tard, or chilled or frozen dessert alter­na­tive — that is made as close as pos­si­ble to tra­di­tional meth­ods.

While dairy prod­ucts such as cheese are an excel­lent source of cal­cium and pro­tein, they can be high in fat. Lower fat con­tent in cheese, how­ever, has often been asso­ci­ated with lost taste, fla­vor and tex­ture and the oil has tended to ooze out in alter­na­tives with some veg­etable oil, this appli­ca­tion says.

But it describes processes said to achieve both sta­ble incor­po­ra­tion of veg­etable oil and desired tex­ture and fla­vor.

Cold-smoked olives any­one?

There are already myr­iad ways to enjoy the wide range of table olive vari­eties, includ­ing plain, mar­i­nated, stuffed and smoked, but from Cerignola in Italy comes a new, cold-smok­ing method — using smoul­der­ing saw­dust from olive and/or beech fire­wood — that’s said to be more eco­nomic and sim­ple.

Olive oil crois­sants

A method from Greece for the prepa­ra­tion of crois­sant type pas­tries with cooked meat and cream cheese fill­ing involves directly or indi­rectly incor­po­rat­ing olive oil into the dough.

The physico-chem­i­cal fea­tures of the olive oil that these prod­ucts con­tain remain unspoiled due to the low tem­per­a­tures applied dur­ing pro­duc­tion, thus con­tribut­ing to the preser­va­tion of the ini­tial fresh­ness of the prod­uct,” the appli­ca­tion says.

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