Olive oil is a universally used ingredient in multiple dishes. Not only does it add exceptional flavor to foods, but it’s also been shown to be good for the body. These reasons make olive oil gifts a favorite for all types of occasions. The love of olive oil dates back to the first civilizations, and in those thousands of years, it’s still a top choice for top chefs around the world.
The pressing of olives for their juice dates back to around 3000 BC. Most historians agree that the olive tree originated in ancient Greece and then spread throughout the Mediterranean region. Roman author Cato described the agricultural growing of olives in the second century BC.
In these early civilizations, olive oil had many diverse uses. It lit lamps and was used as a medical ointment. Other groups anointed important people with it in rituals and ceremonies. Later it became an essential part of early cooking.
The basics of producing olive oil consist of several stages of crushing and rinsing to extract the oil from the olives. Initially, olives were harvested by hand. They were then washed, and pits were removed. The remaining pulp was placed into bags or baskets, which were then pressed. Hot water was then poured over the pressed objects to wash out any remaining oil.
The liquid was then left to settle and separate. Oil was drawn off with hand skimming or with a ladle. If the conditions were too cold, salt was added to accelerate the separation process. After the oil was separated, it then settled again in vats.
Olive press machinery has been found in archaeological digs, demonstrating that ancient civilizations always looked to ways to streamline and automate the process. While mass production of olive oil has been a standard for many years, many artisans still use traditional methods to derive the best olive oil.
Olive oil grading depends on several factors, including pressing and the quality of the oil. Here is some beneficial information related to each grade type. The quality of olive oil is mostly attributed to taste. The International Olive Oil Council develops taste standards.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): the finest and highest grade available and is typically developed using cold pressing methods; because no heat is used, no antioxidants are lost, making it the healthiest version.
Virgin olive oil: the mid-grade of olive oil is usable for a variety of purposes; it has a higher acidity than EVOO.
Pure olive oil: this type of oil has been refined to remove defects; without the refinement, it would not be edible; this type of olive oil may be blended with EVOO.
Light olive oil: the “light” does not correlate to a healthier or diet product; rather, it’s very light in color.
Lampante oil: in its original state, it’s not for human consumption and must undergo refinement.
Pomace olive oil: this is oil taken directly from the olive pomace and is extracted by re-milling the pomace; heat is often used in the extraction process.
Much research has been performed to study the health benefits of olive oil. Here are some that have been expertly proven.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats
About 14% of olive oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. However, the most prominent fat is monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Studies have shown that this type of acid reduces inflammation and because it resistant to high heat is ideal for cooking.
Olive oil contains antioxidants
Olive oil has many healthy components beyond fatty acids, such as vitamins E and K. It’s also full of antioxidants, which could help reduce a person’s risk of chronic disease. They also help protect your blood cholesterol from oxidation, which could reduce the chance of heart disease.
Olive oil could help prevent strokes
Strokes occur when there is an interruption in blood flow to the brain. The relationship between olive and strokes has been studied considerably. A study found that those who consumed olive oil were at a much lower risk of stroke.
Olive oil is good for your heart
Heart disease is less common in Mediterranean countries, and one reason may be the prolific use of olive oil. This led to research on the diet of these people, showing that EVOO is a key ingredient in a diet to protect your heart.
Olive Oil is the Perfect Gift
Full of flavor and nutritional value, olive oil gifts are a winner. From EVOO to olive pastes, you can be assured that you are gifting the highest quality olive oil when it’s made from artisans from Italy. You’ll find a great selection of olive oil gifts at Tasty Ribbon. Start building your gift box today by browsing our offerings.