by Angela Altomare
If you think that extra virgin olive oil exists only in the bottle you will have to change your mind. Soon the main ingredient of Mediterranean diet will arrive on our tables in solid version, in trays similar to those of margarine. The new product is the result of research conducted by the Rheology and Food Engineering laboratory of the University of Calabria, directed by Professor Bruno De Cindio.
“This vegetable fat it can be spread like butter (often accused for its cholesterol and saturated fat content), but will retain the flavor and health properties ofextra virgin», Says Francesca Lupi, one of the researchers who participated in the study.
SON OF THE COLD
The extra virgin olive oil "al dente" was obtained through a physical process called organogelation, which does not involve the use of chemistry. "There solidification is made possible by the simple use of emulsifying substances (in our case cocoa butter) which, at certain temperatures, amalgamate until the liquid crystallizes and transforms it into a compound similar to a the perfect, without changing it from an organoleptic point of view », explains the expert.
FREE OF CHOLESTEROL
"The final product resembles butter in consistency, but differs from it in composition because, not deriving from fats of animal origin, provides zero cholesterol and few saturated (considered dangerous for the heart and arteries if consumed in excess) », explains Dr. Lupi.
"Not only. It's more Howdy also common vegetable margarines. First of all why the precious extra virgin olive oil represents 60% of its weight (usually for spreadable products, corn oils or other cheaper seeds are used and, when extra virgin olive oil is added, it rarely exceeds 10%). Furthermore it is free from coconut and palm oils which are naturally solid because they are rich in "harmful" saturated fats».
VERSATILE IN THE KITCHEN
«Ideal for cooking or preparing bruschetta and canapés, combining it with tomatoes or other seasonal vegetables, the new spreadable oil will soon leave the university laboratories to reach the shelves of supermarkets all over the country»Says the expert. In fact, it will be produced and launched on the market in the coming months ReOlì, a Calabrian company, which bought the patent.
INCREASINGLY HEALTHY MARGARINA
Thanks to the research of the University of Calabria, one will also arrive on the market healthy margarine. «It will be made with 60% of sunflower oil (rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats) and with 40% of cocoa butter, source of saturates which, however, have the advantage of not accumulating in the arteries, as well as of vitamin E and antioxidants»Explains Dr. Francesca Lupi.
Nothing to do, therefore, with the old products, obtained by solidifying the oils with the transformation of their fats from unsaturated to saturated (a process that also caused the formation of trans fats, super harmful to the heart and arteries). But not even with the newer margarines, which use lipids (such as those of palm and coconut) that are naturally "hard" because they are full of saturates.