The use of olive oil as a medium for preserving food probably began as an extension of olive oil as a cosmetic balm for the skin. Just as covering the body with oil oil protects and enriches the skin, submerging food items in oil crates a hermetic environment, which helps prevent microbial and oxidation spoilage while at the same time contributing to its flavor. The natural antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil make it especially suited for this use.