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About Olive Oil: Part 2 - Value and Benefits of Olive Tree and Oil

Start by imagining you are one of the gods on Mount Olympus. What would you choose as the “greatest gift to mankind”? That ultimate gift turned out to be the olive tree – lauded for its wood, leaves, fruit and oil that produced food, fuel and shade. And, because it was known to last hundreds of years, it was cherished as a symbol of peace, wisdom and prosperity.

Olive wood is very hard, strong, durable and non-porous wood. In addition,it has very nice colour and interesting grain patterns.  Olive wood also has natural antibacterial properties. For these reasons it's ideal for products in wood industry. Because of the commercial importance of the fruit, and the slow growth and relatively small size of the tree, olive wood and its products are relatively expensive. Olive wood has got a unique, mild, intense flavor. It has high combustion temperature, burns relatively slowly and evenly, which makes it ideal for barbecue!

Because the leaves of the olive tree are great for the immune system, they are pressed and the extract from them made into health products. If the leaves are dried and then crumbled to make a powder, they can be used as a tea. The leaves can be bitter, so you can sweeten the tea with honey. As you can also buy the extract in capsules, make sure the ingredients are organic and pesticide free. 

Because the leaves are great antioxidents, and have anti-inflamatory properties, they can help lower blood pressure and fight Cholestrol. As a result, if you have a cold, it can be used to  help the symptoms and even viruses.

 

Olive oil has been used for thousands of years in cooking and is one of the cornerstones of the healthy Mediterranean diet. It is very versatile and, with its unique flavor and aroma, has become a must-have in our kitchen. Olive oil can be used for sautéing, browning, stir-frying, deep frying, as an ingredient in marinades and sauces such as mayonnaise, pesto, or romesco, and as a condiment, drizzled over various dishes. It is of course always appreciated as a bread dipper or simply dabbed on a toasted piece of country bread that has been scratched with a clove of garlic. But surely I must not forget table olives. This helathy and tasty food that many of us enjoy eating is truely gastronomic delicacy.

And at last there are olive pomace oil and solid olive pomace, two by-products of extraction of systems containing two and three phases. Olive pomace oil is olive oil that is extracted from olive pulp after the first press. Once the mechanical oil extraction of olive oil is complete, approximately 5-8% of the oil remains in the pulp, which then needs to be extracted with the help of solvents, an industrial technique used in the production of most other edible oils including canola, peanut, sunflower, etc. Although the oil extracted in this manner is still olive oil in no case shall this blend be called "olive oil"! Warnings about possible carcinogenic properties of olive-pomace oil have been issued by the British Food Standards Agency as well as others.

Solid olive pomace usually is usually used as fuel in has very good properties as a fuel for heating, even for domestic installations like pellets. The traditional use of exhausted olive pomace is as fuel in drying ovens or steam boilers because of its calorific value, thermal capacity.

Olive pomace is also used as organic fertiliser after a composting operation. Olive pomace compost is made by a controlled biologic process that transforms organic waste into a stable humus. Adding composted olive pomace as organic fertiliser in olive orchards allows the soil to get nutrients back after each olive crop.

Considering all that olive tree really is the “greatest gift to mankind”!


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