Olive Oil

Olive oil, oil extracted from the fleshy part of the ripened fruit of the olive tree. Olive oil varies in colour from clear yellow to golden; some varieties obtained from unripe fruit have a greenish tinge. Oils of varying characteristics and qualities are produced by almost every country that grows olives, the variations depending on the district and the ripeness of the fruit.

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Description

Pure olive oil is used largely for culinary purposes and in the preservation of foods, particularly canned fish. It is also used in the textile industry for wool combing, in the manufacture of toilet preparations and cosmetics, in the pharmaceutical industry for medicinal purposes, in the manufacture of high-quality castile soap, and as a lubricant.

Olive oil is broadly classified into four grades: (1) extra virgin, oil derived from first pressings that possesses excellent taste and odour and has a free fatty acid content, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams; (2) virgin, oil derived from first pressings that possesses good taste and odour and has a free fatty acid content of not more than 2.0 grams per 100 grams; (3) pure, or edible, a mixture of refined and virgin; (4) refined, or commercial, refined lampante. Olive oil is sometimes mixed with other vegetable oils, but this is not legal in all countries; in some countries, it constitutes fraud.

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