Other than salt, there's no ingredient that's as big a kitchen staple as olive oil. And just like salt, there are a million little known uses for it.
- Don't Miss: 20 Non-Cooking Uses for Olive Oil
None of these uses will quite compare with searing a delicious ribeye or constructing a perfect vinaigrette, but they're all incredibly useful. And since you probably always have a bottle of olive oil on hand, these lesser-known hacks can save your butt in a pinch.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a spoonful of olive oil helps that annoying tickle go away. You know the tickle I'm talking about: the one in the back of your throat that isn't strong enough to make you truly cough, but keeps bothering and frustrating you. A small spoonful of olive oil (a half a teaspoon to a teaspoon) will coat your throat and make that tickle go away.
Olive oil is the perfect way to breathe new life into your pots and pans, or anything else made of metal. All you need to do is put a tablespoon of oil on a paper towel and give your pots and pans a quick polish, and they'll look awesome. This is my go-to trick for when I'm entertaining guests and need my serving pots to look their best. Furthermore, if you ever need to take high-quality photos, use this professional trick: brush a little olive oil onto the food to make it really gleam.
Garlic and olive oil is a match made in heaven. In fact, garlic oil is my single favorite condiment; it's perfect on pizzas, meats, sandwiches and... well, heck, anything savory. Check out our primer on making garlic-infused oil to learn how to make blissfully flavored oil. Or, you can make the raw version by simply mincing some garlic and adding olive oil. (When using raw garlic you do need to watch out for botulism; consume the oil on the same day, or put it in the fridge for up to a week. After that, get rid of it for safety reasons.)
Oil is able to break down leather, which means it's the perfect tool for when you have a hardened baseball mitt or pair of shoes that you want to take care of. Simply pour a healthy dose of oil on the hardened leather, massage it in, and let it sit. Before long your mitt or shoes will be flexible and malleable again (you can also add a small amount of oil to any pair of shoes to give them a nice shine).
Whatever your favorite toiletry is, chances are you can replace it with olive oil. Heat up olive oil and you have an ideal (and mostly scentless) hair conditioner. Apply it on your face or legs and you have a perfect shaving cream substitute. It also makes for a great moisturizer, night cream, or makeup remover, and I add it to every bath I take. The beauty possibilities for olive oil are pretty much endless.
Add it up and one thing is clear: olive oil is one of the most useful and diverse ingredients in your kitchen. It's why I buy the biggest bottle that Costco offers; I never know when I might need some oil.
Do you have any other unique uses for olive oil?
There is a lot of adulterated "extra virgin" olive oil out there, so learn how to read the label and battle to get genuine EVOO. Did you know different types of cooking oils have different smoke points? Some turn rancid or carcinogenic when heated too high. That's why you need to know which oil is the best one for the job.