And that’s really good news as olive oil is one of the building blocks of any healthy diets. Why? Because it’s a primary source of what are usually referred to as good fats.
So let’s discover more about it!
Just the fact that there is a lot of history behind it, makes olive oil much cooler. The use of olive oil is largely documented throughout the millenniums.
One of the first references can be found in the Book of Genesis, more precisely in the Noah Ark’s tale where the dove returns with a branch of olive tree in its beak as a sign that life has return to earth.
Olive oil was known also in Mesopotamia in the third millennium B.C. as well as in Egypt during the Pharaohs empire and in Greece it represented the most valuable item of trading.
In the south of France, in the region of Marseilles, olive oil was brought by the Phoenicians, and from there the Gauls brought it to the Italian region of Liguria. And since that it has become a trademark of Italian cuisine.
The quality of olive oil is influenced by the strain of olives, by the time when they are picked, by the weather condition and by the place where they are grown.
There several methods of olive-picking: a manual method, that preserves the whole olive and protect the tree. Another method consists in beating the tree whereby the olives can fall into sheets of fabric spread under the tree.
The last method is a mechanical picking that consists in using machines that shake the tree.
Extremely important is the period that elapses between the picking and the pressure of the oil. A funny arab proverb says “Olives that have not had the oil extracted from them on the day they are picked are like a bride whose husband does not came to her bad on her wedding night”.
The pressure method is crucial, particularly sophisticated and consists of three parts: first of all you have to crush the olives into a black paste. After this procedure there is the process called “cold pressing”: the juice is squeezed out to get the oil. After that the eventual water residuing with the juice is taken out and the result is pure olive oil.
The taste of olive oil coming from different regions changes dramatically. This is due to the fact that region has his “own” soil and climate.
There are three types of flavors that differentiate the quality of olive oil: a delicate one (called “mild”), a type with a light flavor of olive (called “semi-fruity”), and a type with a strong taste of olive (called “fruity”).
Olive oil contains absolutely no cholesterol; in fact in the Mediterranean regions where olive oil is the principal source of fat account for a very small number of cardiovascular diseases. Alternative medicine experts call olive oil “the protector of cardiac heath” because it prevents blood clots and lowers the bad cholesterol level. It increases the amount of HDL “good” cholesterol in the body. The olive oil contains also a very important factor for our body: omega 3.
1 tablespoon of olive oil scores around 120 calories; quite high but that is the reason why nutritionists recommend to use up to 2 tablespoon per day of olive oil.
So get on board with olive oil if you haven’t done so already: it tastes good and good for you!!!
by Margherita Bisoglio