"Oil - Greece":  An interactive relationship

 

Olive oil

In recent decades, the value of the Mediterranean diet, full of plenty of nutritious ingredients and a specific focus on the presence of olive oil in it, is becoming rapidly increasing.

With multiple health benefits and the ability to flavor all the dishes, olive oil is the undisputed master of the famous Mediterranean diet.

For example, the adoption of the olive oil as the basis of our dietary habits leads to a reduction of total and "bad" cholesterol (LDL), reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, helps prevent atherosclerosis, and thus protect against coronary heart disease, and predispose to lower blood pressure.

Worldwide there are about 850 million olive trees, and most of them -over 95%- are cultivated in the Mediterranean basin, due to ideal climatic and soil conditions. Similarly in Greece the cultivation of olive trees and the olive oil production outweighs all other fruit trees.

 

 The History of Olive Oil

The olive tree is displayed on the planet long before humans decided to organize themselves into societies. The beginning of the cultivation of the wider Greek area is conjectured around 400 years BC according to archaeological findings, with the most probable production sites being in the coast of Asia Minor, Crete and Messenia.

During ancient times the olive tree was considered to be a blessed tree. The "liquid gold", according to Homer, was a symbol of health and strength, a kind of medicine, as well as a source of magic and wonderment:  the athletes rubbed it all over their body because they believed that it would give them strength and luck, the warriors scented the heads of their nobles with it and drops of it were thrown over the bones of dead saints and martyrs, as a sign of sanctification and chastity.

Furthermore, Hippocrates stressed the therapeutic value of the oil and he mentions more than sixty (60) medicinal uses of olive oil in his Code.

It was the gift the Goddess Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom,  to the Athenians during  the establishment of their city.

Even nowadays, the significance of the olive tree is known and acknowledged universally by being the classical symbol of Peace and the prize for the winners at the Olympic Games.

 

Extra virgin olive oil

It is the virgin olive oil which is only produced by physical and mechanical processes, sustaining a perfect aroma and flavor. The acidity of the specific oil must not exceed 0.5%.

 

Conditions

- The color of the oil should be between the golden light and dark green.

- The label must indicate the acidity of the oil, e.g. 0-1%.

- The cap of the bottle or container should be hermetically sealed (security authentication).

- The bottles containing the oil need to be made of a PET material or glass, materials which are both environmentally friendly and safe for containing such a sensitive product .

-The oil must be crystal clear

-The storage conditions of the olive oil on the shelf have to be such, so that the product is protected from direct sunlight and heat. Additionally, moisture should be avoided.

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