Sweet oil is another name for olive oil, although the term also can refer to a light vegetable oil. It has many uses, from skin care to cooking. Several countries produce this oil, including Italy, Spain and the United States. The oil is used in place of other types of oil in cooking because of its health benefits, including a lack of harmful cholesterols. There are several grades of the oil, based on how it was extracted from the olives.
The different classifications of sweet oil help to define what use it should have in cooking. Extra virgin describes oil that was extracted from olives by pressing them once. It is the first oil the olives exude. Virgin olive oil is oil that comes from olives that have already been pressed at least once. The acidity of the different oil grades varies and affects the flavor, especially when eaten uncooked.
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There are many uses for sweet oil in cooking. The extra virgin variety is often eaten uncooked in salad dressings or drizzled over bread or cheeses. It can be a healthy alternative when used instead of corn oil and other oils that contain harmful types of cholesterol, although olive oil has too low of a smoking point to be used for serious deep frying. Olive oil also can be placed in a bottle with herbs such as rosemary and aged for a time to create an infused oil that has the taste of the herbs in addition to the sweet and fruity natural flavor of the oil.
Medicinally, sweet oil has been used for a very long time as a treatment for problems with the ears. Swimmer’s ear, a condition characterized by water being trapped inside the ear canal, has been treated by placing a few drops of oil directly into the ear. It also can help to loosen wax in the ear and provides lubrication to the canal. In the past, the oil was used to treat cuts and other wounds to help prevent infection and promote healing.
For centuries, sweet oil has been used as a beauty product, especially for women. It can be used to moisturize the skin and is an ingredient in many modern cosmetic products. The oil also has been used as a treatment for dry hair by working it into the scalp, coating the hair in it and allowing it to stay in overnight.