Have an old bottle of olive oil sitting around the house? Don’t throw it out! I talked to Carol Firenze, author of The Passionate Olive – 101 Things You Can Do with Olive Oil, about some creative ways to use this versatile product around the house. She points out that olive oil is ecologically friendly and can be more cost-effective than commercial products, and she’s especially fond of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), although she does have a caution for consumers: “Since the US doesn’t have truth in labeling laws, many people buy what they think is EVOO only to find out that it is not good, fresh, tasty, etc., and it is refined.”
Rich Colwell of Thundering Herd Ranch in California adds that consumers looking for high-grade oils might want to consider buying locally. Many olive oil ranches allow people to visit to take tours and taste their products, allowing people to meet the farmers, test oils, and find a flavor they like. Colwell explains that olive oil can actually be made from several varieties, and includes a range of flavored products pressed with lemons, oranges, and other ingredients. For those who think olive oil is boring, a farm tour might be a taste bud-opening experience.
As Carol explains, olive oil makes a great wood furniture polish and conditioner (though your local carpenter might not even know about it), and you can also use it on leather shoes to help bring back their shine, restore suppleness, and protect the leather. In both cases, start by wiping the surface down with a sponge or towel to remove dust and grime. Allow it to dry, and apply a light coat of olive oil, rubbing to allow the oil to soak in fully.