ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fats and Oils - Olive Oil

Updated on September 6, 2011

Nutritional Information

Olive oil is approximately 77 per cent monounsaturated fat, and is an excellent source of Vitamin E. Studies have shown that the use of olive oil increases the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, and has the added benefit of contributing dozens of valuable antioxidants.


The oil pressed from the pulp of the ripe fruit of the olive tree, Olea Europaea.

Origin and History

Cultivation of the olive tree appears to have originated about 6000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region, although it grew wild before that time. Olive oil was a major export product of Greece as far back as 2500 B.C. The olive tree was developed by the Syrians and Palestinians into a compact, oil-rich variety which is now grown along the entire shores of the Mediterranean and wherever a Mediterranean-type climate prevails. The largest producers of olive oil today are Spain and Italy. Unlike most other vegetable oils, good virgin grades of olive oil are consumed as a food without refining or other processing.

A Cypriot farmer and his young son hard at work extracting the oil from olives in an ancient stone capstan crusher. Most olives are crushed mechanically these days.
A Cypriot farmer and his young son hard at work extracting the oil from olives in an ancient stone capstan crusher. Most olives are crushed mechanically these days.

Buying and Storage

Olive oils have a wide variety of flavors ranging from light and buttery to very fruity. The color also varies from yellow to green, depending on the region in which the fruit is grown and from pale to dark, depending on the type of oil. Virgin oil has a stronger flavor and color than refined or pure oil. The flavor and color of the pure oils also vary, depending on the relative amounts of virgin and refined oils blended together.
Olive oil is more stable to oxidation than most liquid oils owing to its low content of polyunsaturated fats. Store in a sealed container at room temperature, out of direct light.

Preparation and Use

The virgin and pure oils are used chiefly as salad and cooking oils. For those interested in reducing their cholesterol, olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil may be used as a substitute for butter in baking. The International Olive Oil Council advises that 20 g butter can be replaced by 2 ¼ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 55 g butter by ¼ cup oil, and 220 g butter by ¾ cup oil. The Council also says that 'olive oil has a small fat crystal which yields even, fine-textured baked goods, and cakes have a moist and tender crumb'. Olive oil is unsuitable for deep frying as it cannot tolerate high frying temperatures.
Residue oil, if refined, may be included in edible products such as blended vegetable oils, but may not legally be sold as 'olive' oil. The inedible residue oil (also known as sulphur oil or olive kernel oil) is widely used in soap-making.


Once it was common to refer to 'cold-pressed' and 'first-pressed' olive oils. Technology has advanced and these terms are largely meaningless today. Most olive oil is now produced with only one pressing, but more powerful presses are used. The final acidity of the oil varies from year to year and crop to crop. It is this measurement that distinguishes an oil that may be sold as extra-virgin and one that may be sold as virgin olive oil.


Extra-virgin olive oil is a virgin olive oil of outstanding flavor, color and aroma that has a maximum acidity of no more than 1 per cent. Virgin olive oil indicates a good but slightly subdued 'fruity' flavor; the acidity may not exceed 1.5 per cent. Olive oil is blended from refined, lesser-quality virgin olive oil and unrefined virgin olive oil for extra flavor.

The nutritional information provided on this page has been prepared using Australian metric weights and measures. For conversion to weights and measures appropriate for your country click here.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • The Good Cook profile imageAUTHOR

      The Good Cook 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Caroline.

    • profile image

      Caroline @TheOliveOrchard 

      7 years ago

      Fresh is best when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. So look for single-origin or single-estate olive oils with a harvest and/or expiration date on the bottle. Generally speaking, EVOO should be used within two years of harvest and within a few months once opened.

      Fresh extra virgins contain a higher concentration of naturally healthful components. Suggested consumption is two daily tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably in place of other fats.

      Be aware that heat, light and air can affect the taste of olive oil and its health-promoting nutrients. Always store olive oil in a dark, room-temperature cupboard.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)