Olive Oil

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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Olive oil is a fruit oil obtained from the olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae along with lilacs, jasmine and ash trees), 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 a blend of virgin oil and refined oil, containing no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
  • Olive oil is composed mainly of oleic acid and palmitic acid and other fatty acids, along with traces of squalene (up to 0.7%) and sterols.

Application

  • The application of olive oil is effective on boils,rashes and itching.
  • It strenthens the hairs and body.
  • It is also useful in sexual weakness.
  • Combination of normal saline with olive oil is highly effective in burns cases.

Process

  • The most traditional way of making olive oil is by grinding olives.
  • Green olives produce bitter oil, and overly ripened olives produce rancid oil, so care is taken to make sure the olives are perfectly ripened.
  • First the olives are ground into an olive paste using large millstones. The olive paste generally stays under the stones for 3040 minutes.
  • The oil collected during this part of the process is called virgin oil. After grinding, the olive paste is spread on fibre disks, which are stacked on top of each other, then placed into the press.
  • Pressure is then applied onto the disk to further separate the oil from the paste. This second step produces a lower grade of oil.
Market
  • Demand for olive oil has soared in the United States. In 1994, exports to the US totaled 28.95 million gallons, a 215% increase from 1984.
  • The US is Italy's biggest customer, absorbing 22% of total Italian production of 131.6 million gallons in 1994. Despite shrinkage in production, Italian exports of olive oil rose by 19.2% from 1994 to 1995. A large share of the imports went from the EU, especially Spain.
  • Greece devotes 60% of its cultivated land to olive growing. It is the world's top producer of black olives and boasts more varieties of olives than any other country.
  • Spain's production alone accounts for 40% to 45% of world production, which was 2.6 million metric tons.
  • Olives are grown for oil in mainland Greece, with Peloponnese being the source of 65% of Greek production, as well as in Crete, the Aegean Islands and Ionian Islands.

 

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