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What Is Olive Oil Butter?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Olive oil butter, more accurately called olive oil spread, is a butter substitute made of olive oil. Sometimes it is a refrigerated mixture of olive oil and dairy butter, and sometimes it is a spread made from olive oil that has been chilled until it solidifies. Generally used the same way as dairy butter, with a few exceptions, it offers some health benefits, but has a different flavor that can be somewhat sharp and acidic for those who are used to dairy butter. Olive oil is the oil from the olive, which is the fruit of the olive tree.

Substituting olive oil can be helpful for people with several types of special dietary restrictions. For vegans, who do not eat dairy products, pure olive oil butter can act as a butter substitute in most recipes. Olive oil butter is lower in unsaturated fat and calories than dairy butter, which makes it a popular choice among those maintaining a low-fat or low-cholesterol diet. Usually, commercial olive oil butter products come with salt added, but homemade olive oil butter is often made without salt.

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Most of the time, olive oil butter can be used in the same ways butter is used in cooking. It can be spread on toast or used as a crisping and browning oil for cooking vegetables and meat. Like dairy butter, olive oil butter can be flavored with herbs or spices. A popular way to use olive oil spread is to spread a prepared garlic and parsley olive oil butter on bread before baking it so it becomes garlic bread.

One thing to remember when cooking with olive oil is that it starts to smoke and burn at a much lower temperature than butter. This can be helpful when a smoky flavor is desired in a dish, but it can also make food bitter. Cooking with olive oil at high heats makes for a smokier process in general, so it is often best to opt for butter, peanut oil, or canola oil for high-heat cooking, if only to avoid triggering the kitchen smoke alarm.

Olive oil is a vegetable fat that comes from the olive. In fact, the term olive oil is somewhat redundant because the word oil originated from the Greek word for olive. The word oil was used only to describe olive oil specifically when it first formed, but it came to refer to other types of oily substances, including petroleum and mineral oil, after a few hundred years. Olives come from small trees that originated from the Mediterranean area of the world. Most olive oil comes from Spain, Italy, and Greece.

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