The HistoryThe olive was native to Asia Minor and spread from Palestine, Syria, and Iran to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written language was invented. The use of oil is found in many religions and cultures, for example: 1,400 years ago the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, advised his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies, and himself used oil on his head.
Magazine Publisher: Rawey Kased
CultivationOlive trees have to be very well maintained, the cultivation process includes orchard planting, pruning, irrigation, fertilization, weed control, fruit harvest, protection from pests & diseases The olive tree has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit. The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassulin what is today modern Jordan.
Farmers in ancient times believed olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a short distance from the sea. Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as Palestine, South Africa, Chile, Australia, and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Crdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters. The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant, but the fruit keeps its original characteristics.
The Process from Olive to Olive Oil
Olives just like certain plants also grow during a season. Before being processed, the olives are knocked down from its tree using long sticks to knock down the olives off its branches or using mechanical vibration tools to grasp onto a big nest. After harvesting, olives must be taken to the mill for processing as quickly as possible (preferably within 24 hours). Leaves and twigs are removed, the fruit is washed, then the olives (pits included) are ground into a paste either using huge millstones or by mechanical means.
With traditional methods, the paste is spread onto circular mats and entered into a press, which pushes out the juice, leaving the pomace behind. At this point, the juice is a mixture of oil and fruit water, so its now left to stand for an hour, during which time the oil and water will naturally separate. The oil is then siphoned off to another vat where any particles will drift to the bottom, enabling the pure olive oil to be decanted into bottles without the need for filtering of any sort.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oils protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence ofgallstone formation.
The Culture in OliveOlive is very popular in the Middle East, but a fad in other places around the world. Olives are used in various ways when made with dishes from Italian and Spanish food to Arabic food. Spain is the worlds largest overall producer of olive oil. Italy is second. Greece is the worlds largest producer of extra-virgin olive oil. Italy and Spain come in second and third in the extra-virgin race. Greece consumes the most olive oil per capita. Spain, Italy, Tunisia, and Portugal also top the per-capita consumption list. Italy exports more olive oil to the United States than to anywhere else.
In Palestine, Olive trees have been a part of their landscape for thousands of years. They are also the second major crop in Palestine, used to produce olive oil, olive wood and olive-based soap. Symbolically, olive trees represent the Palestinian nation and peoples ties to the land. More broadly, the olive branches are international symbols of peace and tranquility, needed now more than ever in this devastated part of the world.
Beneficial Health FactsThe greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is freshly pressed from the fruit.
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