Olive Trees and Olive Oil – An Introduction

1 Dec

Olives Around The World

Olives that have been originated from Mediterranean countries, now grown in numerous countries. Italian were the first among all, who deeply research and analysis the importance of olives. Now olives and olive oils has become integral part of Italian cuisine. Other countries who are following Italian footsteps as well growing olive trees are California, Chile, Israel, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Palestine. Though olives are not much popular in India, but their importance in terms of health is being realise.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

The Olive Tree

The Olive tree (Olea europaea) species belongs to the family Oleaceae which is widely grown for supplying an important ingredient worldwide. All part of olive tree is given equal importance. Likewise, Green and Black Olives are grown and exporter on large scale for catering the world demand of healthy lifestyle. On other hand, olive tree is also known for supplying good quality wood and beneficial leaves.

The Olive Oil

The extract of the olive tree is commercially traded as olive oil. For the same, the olive fruits are harvested at their initial ripening stage. Though the fruit is bitter in taste because of presence of Oleuropin- a bitter carbohydrate.

Pure Olive Oil

Pure Olive Oil

Olives are either thoroughly washed or soaked in solution of sodium hydroxide so as to remove the effect of oleuropein as well accelerate the extraction process. Primarily Olives are either crushed or pressed for the purpose of extracting the oil. They are subsequently processed so as to create varies types of olive oil.

Olive Oil – Their Types

As mention above, oil which is extracted is further processed. Every subsequent processing can result in totally different composition of olive oils. As result olive oil may varies in respect of flavours and quality. A premier body, International Olive Oil Council have classified them as follow.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Perhaps the richest flavour and the best quality of oil. Usually extracted by minimum level of processing either by crushing or pressing of olives.

Virgin Olive Oil – It is extracted only by the mean of pressing and hence the best known second types of olive oil in terms of quality.

Pure Olive Oil – Pure Olive oil is not at all pure. It is processed and treated with chemical along with the refining and filtration procedures

Extra Light Olive Oil – Another processed form of olive oil and far different in taste from Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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