So with the podcast show being on Extra Virgin olive oil this week, I thought we could do a bit of a creative list of uses for our beloved Extra virgin olive oil pantry staple and get it to stretch way beyond the pantry! We absolutely LOVE our 3L tin of Cobram Estate Extra Virgin olive oil here and after visiting the estate last year in Victoria, I knew I had to have farmer Rob McGavin on the show – did you have a listen yet? Here are the show notes through the link.
I’d love to see if there are any creative ideas you have and use Olive oil for? Please feel free to share in the comments.
#1 Revive your black leather shoes with a homemade polish.
Regular shoe polish contains a collection of chemicals including naphtha (derived from petroleum), lanolin, turpentine, wax, gum arabic, ethylene glycol, and often a colourant, such as carbon black or an azo dye (such as aniline yellow).
Instead of buying yet another product with a confusing list of ingredients, make your own olive oil polish. Simply apply a 5 cent amount of olive oil to a cloth and buff the leather. A caveat: if the leather is another colour other than black and very old it may stain so to be sure to attempt a spot test if you can before coating the leather in the olive oil. In that case, you’re better off popping a drop of olive oil on a cloth first and ensuring it’s well absorbed into the cloth, and then polishing your shoes. It’ll have a nice, subtle effect and bring a little shine.
#2 Make a super nourishing (and cheap) hair mask.
If you’re an old-hat low toxer you would know that many personal care products are filled with chemicals, often despite claims to be ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘paraben free’. But for me? the real clincher is those hair treatments or masks can cost a fortune, and personally, I’d like to see my money go towards something else.
Instead, combine 2 tbs of olive oil with a 5-10 few drops of your favourite essential oils. Lavender, rosemary or jojoba are beautiful options – rosemary, especially for the hair tonic purposes. Coat your whole head, combing the oils through the hair. Tie it up in a top knot and leave it for up to three hours. Wash it out in the shower, ensuring your scrub vigorously to remove any excess oil. Your hair will be lush, hydrated and it’ll cost next to nothing.
#3 Make a DIY nappy rash treatment.
Many mainstream nappy rash creams are fraught with nasties such as synthetic fragrances, endocrine disrupting hormones, ingredients that have been linked to various chronic illness and carcinogens! How is that even allowed? This is not a fear mongering campaign, but if you fancy a cheap and delightfully nourishing cream to alleviate bubs nappy rash then try this DIY balm:
You will need:
- 4 drops roman chamomile essential oil
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 15g beeswax, grated
(If you’re new to avoiding toxins and feel like you’ve entered the minefield, be sure to join this round of Go Low Tox starting February 26th. )
Melt the beeswax in a double boiler on the stove (ensure you use a metal or ceramic bowl that you’re not too attached to or happy to reuse for other DIY products as beeswax can be very difficult to clean off!). Combine the melted beeswax and olive oil. Stir in the essential oils. Decanter into small jars or one large jar. Sit in the fridge for an hour to set.
To use the cream, simply rub it on the affected area a few times a day or as needed.
Warning: always do a spot test when applying treatments to bub. As they are growing and developing there skin may react to new topical treatments.
#4 Make a low tox furniture polish:
A cheap and chemical free way to restore that brand new look of your wooden furniture is to make your own polish at home. Combine 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice in a spray bottle. Give it a good shake and then spray over the wooden furniture. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then wipe any residue with a microfibre cloth. Et voilà. No need to air out those pieces for a few days while the strong chemical smell lingers.
#5 Use it as a beautiful skin moisturiser.
This one could not be simpler than rubbing olive oil straight from the kitchen bench onto your limbs. If it’s good enough for Cleopatra then surely we can give it a go! Olive oil is full of antioxidants, which ward off free radicals that encourage ageing and skin damage. It’s also super hydrating and rich in vitamins. If you suffer from eczema it’s a great way to keep the skin barrier in check but be wary of it triggering the skin in the event that you’re sensitive. Do a patch test before oiling up, just to be sure.
#6 Replace the WD40 and fix a squeaky door.
Use a soaked-in-olive-oil tea towel cloth spot to apply olive oil to the problematic hinge in your home or car. Easy peasy. I promise, it really is that easy!
#7 Get those pearly whites with oil pulling.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual dating back over 3,000 years, whereby people would swish 1 tbs of cold pressed oil (coconut, sesame or olive) for up to 20 minutes around their mouth before spitting it out (in the bin rather than the sink so as to not clog drains). While oil pulling is not just good in a superficial sense (hello pearly whites) it’s also said to promote oral hygiene, remove toxins from the blood and skin, detox the body and increase energy. Worth a try. But a warning, if you have a strong gag reflex just start with a tablespoon as it can be quite a weird sensation at first! Here’s what my son’s dentist Dr Lewis Ehlrich says about oil pulling.
#8 Treat cracked heels.
If you’re a chronic sandal wearer and you live in a dry climate then there’s a good chance you’ve got a case of dry or dead skin at the soles of your feet. It’s hardly a pleasant feeling. A really simple way to combat this is lather your soles up with olive oil. If you like you can pre-blend your olive oil with some aromatic essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass or lavender. The trick is to clean your feet well, give them a good scrub and then really massage the oil in. You’ll be rehydrating the skin and help remove some of the dead skin. Just a warning, watch you don’t slip once the oil is applied. Pop some socks on to be safe and in fact, the socks will ensure the oil penetrates well into the heal.
#9 Use it as a makeup remover.
Olive oil is a natural and gentle makeup remover without any of the additional harsh chemicals or one-use makeup wipes. What’s more, using olive oil to clean your face means that it will naturally dissolve the dirty oils on your skin without stripping it bare. Pop a 5 cent amount on a cloth and wipe gently wipe away the makeup. Apply more if needed.
#10 Make a sweet dessert.
Some top tips on buying good quality olive oil.
- Know and trust the source. Understand how your olive oil is being harvested, pressed, bottled and stored. For more information jump over to my latest podcast here with Rob McGavin from Cobram Estate.
- Look for “100% extra virgin” as it’s the highest quality juice of the olive and it’s all you should be buying. Many olive oils are adulterated and aerated, refined with heat, chemicals and solvents and often blended with other seed oils to save money and revive rancid olives that shouldn’t really be consumed.
- The way it is stored is so important: Olive oil like most shelf stable products can eventually oxidise and go rancid. In order to prolong the shelf life look for oils bottled in dark glass and avoid any in plastic.
- Smell: if your olive oil reminds you of something fresh, it generally pretty good. If you can’t smell anything or it doesn’t smell appealing, it’s not worth your while.
So that’s my list! Have you got any other good tips for using olive oil? Other than drizzling it over summer salads with hopeless abandon. No?… Just me?
Real Food. Happy Bodies. Happy Planet.