Is olive oil gluten-free? Find out here!
Olive oil is a staple in any healthy kitchen. It’s rich in nutrients and has the ability to enhance flavor without adding extra calories or fat. But, did you know that some people with celiac disease are not able to consume this delicious food because it contains gluten?
Not all oils contain gluten but be sure to read labels carefully when choosing your pantry items. Olive oil is safe for most of us and can be used as a substitute for butter, vegetable oil, or other cooking oils.
How Olive Oil Is Made
The art of turning olives into oil has been done in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. The process is truly a regional art. The method used by individual growers might have a unique way of tending the trees and producing the tasty liquid gold.
Mediterranean olive trees must mature for several years before they produce olives. Careful pruning optimizes the number of olives a single tree will bear. A meticulous hand is necessary because it takes at least ten pounds of olives to produce one liter (about four cups) of olive oil.
Pressing is considered one of the best ways to make olive oil. First, the olives (pits and all) are ground up into paste. Then, that paste is pressed between discs to extract the oil. Cold dipping, which involves blades that dip into the olive oil paste repeatedly to collect a light coating of oil that’s then wiped off, also is considered superior.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley.
Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is by far the most common.
The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is responsible for most of the adverse health effects of gluten.
When flour mixes with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency.
This glue-like property makes the dough elastic and gives bread the ability to rise during baking. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture.
Interestingly, the name gluten derives from this glue-like property of wet dough.
Is Olive Oil Gluten-Free?
It’s true, olive oil should not contain any gluten in it. You should still do your homework With manufacturers. Since olive oil is made from olives, the only ways for gluten to enter the picture are through gluten cross-contamination in processing, or through added ingredients.
For example, it’s possible for olive oil to be cross-contaminated in processing. The equipment used to produce olive oil is specialized, but, theoretically, it also could be used to make wheat germ oil.
Are All Oils Gluten-Free?
Yes, most cooking oils are naturally gluten-free .
Examples of gluten-free oils include canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and vegetable oil. However, as mentioned in the previous section any oil could potentially come into contact with gluten during manufacturing processes, therefore we always recommend reading labels and trusting certified gluten-free products, especially if they include additives or flavorings. Reach out to manufacturers if you have any questions.
While the oil itself is generally gluten-free, when ordering items that are fried in oils at restaurants, be sure to ask if the kitchen uses a dedicated fryer for gluten-free items, as some foods cooked in oil may not be gluten-free (such as breaded meats) and therefore would cause issues with cross-contact.