The Olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin; Neolithic people collected wild olives as early as the 8th millennium BC. These wild Olive Trees were originated in Asia Minor in modern Turkey.
Olive Oil is obtained from the Olive (Olea Europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in Cooking, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and Soaps and as a fuel for traditional Oil Lamps. Olive oil is used throughout the world, especially in the Mediterranean.
It is not clear when and where Olive trees were first domesticated: in Asia Minor in the 6th millennium; along the Levantine Coast stretching from the Sinai Peninsula to modern Turkey in the 4th millennium.
Quantitative analysis can determine the oil's acidity, defined as the percent, measured by weight, of free Oleic acid it contains. This is a measure of the oil's chemical degradation; as the oil degrades, more fatty acids are freed from the glycerides, increasing the level of free acidity and thereby increasing rancidity. Another measure of the oil's chemical degradation is the organic peroxide level, which measures the degree to which the oil is oxidized, another cause of rancidity.
In order to classify it by taste, olive oil is subjectively judged by a panel of professional tasters in a blind taste test. This is also called its Organoleptic quality.
Over 750 million Olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% of which are in the Mediterranean region. Most of global production comes from Southern Europe, North Africa and the Near East.
World Olive oil production in 2006-2007 was 2.767 million tonnes, of which Spain contributed 40% to 45%. Of the European production, 93% comes from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.
Uses and Benefits :
- Olive oil is used as the cooking oil in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is mostly used as an ingredient in salad dressings. It is also used in culinary to be eaten cold. Uncompromised by heat, the flavor is stronger.
- It also can be used for sautéing. Olive oil must always be stored in dark tinted bottles to prevent it from going rancid due to exposure to sunlight. A temperature of 14 degrees Celsius is advisable.
- Choosing a cold-pressed olive oil can be similar to selecting a wine. The flavour of these oils varies considerably and particular oil may be more suited for a particular dish. Also, people who like lots of tannins in their red wines might prefer more bitter olive oils.
Health Benefits :
- In the dietary treatment of diabetes
- It controls the blood pressure and increases the bone mass.
- It regulates the digestive systems by protecting against the gastritis and ulcers.
- It prevents the possibility of formation of gall bladder stones.
- Olive oil has a favorable effect on the development of central nervous and vascular systems, and in brain development as well as normal child development.
Beauty Benefits :
- Olive Oil and Beauty: Olive oil, protects, nourishes and softens the skin, keeps the body and face young looking. Olive oil is used for chafing the body, for bringing on perspiration, for avoiding the body fluids and for dissipating lethargy. When retained in the mouth, it strengthen the gums maintains the teeth’s whiteness. Olive oil is used in common for bodily hygiene. Olive oil is rubbed over the body as a protection from the sun and the cold. It is used for shining hair, dry skin. It prevents wrinkles and most importantly soften the skin
- In addition to the internal health benefits of olive oil, topical application is quite popular with fans of natural health remedies. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the preferred grade for moisturizing the skin, especially when used in the oil cleansing method.
It’s Grades :
The grades of oil extracted from the Olive Fruit can be classified as :
- Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil referring to production is different from Virgin Oil on a retail label.
- Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids). Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than Virgin oil; the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil.
- Pomace olive oil means oil extracted from the Pomace using Chemical Solvents, mostly hexane, and by heat.