Alternative uses for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil has been used for over 8,000 years in many different ways. The Ancient Greeks discovered its use as fuel, skin lotion, as a contraceptive, detergent, preservative, pesticide, perfume, adornment, a cure for heart ailments, to relieve stomachaches and against hair loss, flatulence and excessive perspiration, ah yes and of course, as a food.
I recently came across a copy of ‘The Passionate Olive: 101 Things to do with Olive Oil’ by Carol Firenze and her suggestions for contemporary uses of extra virgin olive oil include shaving with it, polishing furniture, moisturizing your hands, loosening a stuck zip, protecting your frying pans, shining your pet’s coat, insect repellent, relieving muscle cramps, reducing the effects of alcohol (apparently 2 teaspoons taken before drinking prevents the alcohol from entering your blood stream so quickly). I’ve got to tell you that I still have to try most of the above…
In our house, we only have (imho) the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil at our disposition and I say with confidence that its primary use is as an ingredient for food. During the summer months we use it generously for salads and raw food where it meets the ripe fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses contributing to their detoxifying properties as well as enhancing the flavours. We also use it to preserve the best of the seasonal vegetables that we enjoy over the winter months. Outside the kitchen, I occasionally use it as a moisturizer if skin is particularly dry or as an aftersun (also for the hair), as an anti-inflammatory, to remove the spines of sea urchins (they have a horrible fishing-hook-like barb that is really hard to extract without the help of the oil) or splinters, and thanks to Pliny, against seasickness where it is particularly effective if combined with raw ginger. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a completely natural, freshly pressed juice, so you can use it with confidence for all members of the family.