It’s hard to think of a reason not to use olive oil every day. It keeps well, has a delicious taste, and offers remarkable health benefits. Studies show that people who make olive oil a part of their diets have lower rates of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Supermarkets and gourmet shops offer dozens of choices. Buy several different kinds to discover the range of flavors. Think of it as you do wine: Sample and taste to find your favorites. Here are some easy ways to use olive oil:

1. Bring out the sweet flavors of vegetables by chopping, tossing them with olive oil and roasting at 425°F until just tender.

2. Scramble or fry eggs, and cook omelets in olive oil instead of butter.

3. Use olive oil in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables.

4. Drizzle olive oil over cooked vegetables just before serving, for a burst of flavor.

5. Pour a little olive oil into a shallow dish, add a small bit of crumbled feta cheese, and seasonwith salt and pepper to create a delicious andhealthy dip for whole grain bread.

6. Toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic, and add a drizzle of olive oil for an easy bruschetta appetizer.

7. Replace butter with olive oil when making mashed or baked potatoes. For the ultimate mashed potatoes, whip together cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

8. Combine cooked or canned, drained white beans, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs for a delicious dip or spread.

9. Brush olive oil on meats before grilling or broiling to seal in the flavor and juices and create a crispy exterior.

10. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the top of homemade pesto after putting it in a jar so the sauce will retain its bright green color.

11. Toss popcorn with olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese or herbs, instead of butter and salt.

12. Substitute olive oil for butter in baking; use 3 tablespoons of olive oil in recipes that call for 1⁄4 cup of butter; or 1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil in recipes that call for 1⁄2 cup of butter.

Learn more about healthy food choices at www.oldwayspt.org.

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