Olive oil

Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin, produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes. Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC.

Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil presented with green and black preserved table olives
Fat composition
Saturated fats
Total saturatedPalmitic acid: 13.0%
Stearic acid: 1.5%
Unsaturated fats
Total unsaturated> 85%
MonounsaturatedOleic acid: 70.0%
Palmitoleic acid: 0.3–3.5%
PolyunsaturatedLinoleic acid: 15.0%
α-Linolenic acid: 0.5%
Properties
Food energy per 100 g (3.5 oz)3,700 kJ (880 kcal)
Melting point−6.0 °C (21.2 °F)
Boiling point299 °C (570 °F)
Smoke point190–215 °C (374–419 °F) (extra virgin)[1]
215 °C (419 °F) (virgin)[2]
210 °C (410 °F) (refined)
Solidity at 20 °C (68 °F)Liquid
Specific gravity at 20 °C (68 °F)0.911[3]
Viscosity at 20 °C (68 °F)84 cP
Refractive index1.4677–1.4705 (virgin and refined)
1.4680–1.4707 (pomace)
Iodine value75–94 (virgin and refined)
75–92 (pomace)
Acid valuemaximum: 6.6%[inconsistent](refined and pomace)
0.8% (extra virgin)
Saponification value184–196 (virgin and refined)
182–193 (pomace)
Peroxide value20 (virgin)
10 (refined and pomace)

Spain accounts for almost half of global olive oil production; other major producers are Italy, Tunisia, Greece and Turkey.[4] Per capita consumption is highest in Greece, followed by Italy and Spain.

The composition of olive oil varies with the cultivar, altitude, time of harvest and extraction process. It consists mainly of oleic acid (up to 83%), with smaller amounts of other fatty acids including linoleic acid (up to 21%) and palmitic acid (up to 20%). Extra virgin olive oil is required to have no more than 0.8% free acidity and is considered to have favorable flavor characteristics.