“ Type: Olive Oils „
When and where in the world did people first have the idea that olives, which can't be eaten right off the tree, can be made edible by special processing to reduce their bitterness? Different sources give different answers, between five and seven millenia ago doing so originated on the island of Crete and spread throughout Egypt, Greece, Palestine and Asia Minor. Or was it in Central Persia and Mesopotamia spreading from there to Egypt, Phoenicia and then Greece?
Whatever, researchers agree upon Minoan Crete as the first place to engage in full-scale cultivation of olives and that they have played a primary rôle in Crete's economy for over 2000 years. But not only the fruit has been important, the olive tree has provided people also with fuel, timber and medicine throughout history.
Spanish and Portuguese explorers took olive trees to America in the 15th and 16th century, Franciscan missionaries started cultivating olives in California in the 18th century. In modern times commercial cultivation can mainly be found in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Which colour does an olive have? Are there trees producing green ones and others producing black ones? No, there is only one variety, the colour depends on the time when the olives are picked. Still unripe, they're green, ripe, they're black. But if you buy black olives, it doesn't necessarily mean that you've bought ripe ones. It's possible to create the black colour by exposing unripe green olives to air, the oxidation process makes them black. Processing them in oil, water, brine or salt and fermentation also influence the colour.
For people outside the Mediterranean area and Asia Minor olives are an acquired taste, there aren't many who talk about love at first bite. But persevering is worth while as olives are so good for your health that it's a miracle how someone can become old and stay healthy without ever eating any. They're full of vitamin E which goes after and neutralises free radicals in all fat rich areas of the body. Furthermore, they contain a variety of compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. The nutrients in olives are said to prevent heart disease and colon cancer and help lower blood cholesterol levels. As if this weren't enough, eating olives may also help reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and the frequency and intensity of hot flushes during menopause.
You can buy whole olives either with or without the stone, they can be stuffed with pepper, garlic or almonds. You can have them for starters or together with crackers or bread and wine as a snack. If you put pitted olives in a food processor together with spices of your choice, you can make a spread for sandwiches or a topping for fish and poultry. A mixture of chopped olives, tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs can be poured over pasta. And you can use olive oil, of course, instead of processed oil which is bad for human health. The Mediterranean diet isn't considered the best for nothing.
Prices for olive oil vary considerably as does the quality. Extra virgin olive oil is the best, it's the natural juice of the olive with the olive water removed. Connoisseurs enthuse about the flavour and aroma. It has its price, but if you compare it to cheaper varieties, you'll understand why. Next comes virgin oil, the difference lies in the amount of the free acidity level. Simple olive oil, also sold as 'pure olive oil' is obtained by blending refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. If you can't or don't want to spend too much money on oil, you can use olive oil for salads only and fry with cheap oil, for example oil from sunflower seeds.
Spain produces the biggest amount of olive oil in Europe, but only 20% are extra virgin. Italy comes next with 50% of extra virgin. The smallest amount of olive oil is produced in Greece, yet 80% of the production are extra virgin. The reason for this are the mountainous regions where machine-picking isn't possible. In Greece many olive trees stand in small groves in remote areas, the olives are hand-picked and the crop is pressed on the day of picking. If you've ever seen the vast plantations of olive trees in the South of Spain stretching up to the horizon, you'll understand that the quality of the oil must be lower.
The fact that Spanish and Italian olive oil rule the European market is not only due to the above stated facts but also to the Greeks' lack of effective marketing strategies. Only recently have they begun to market their oil as a premium product.
The best olive oil I've ever had came from an Italian colleague in Apulia in the South of Italy, her family own an olive grove and they press their olives in the most delicate way. Unfortunately, the 5 litre she gave me as a present when visiting me on a student exchange visit didn't last long. Meanwhile we're both retired and don't see each other and more. Now I buy olive oil from Crete.
Olive Oil is an oil obtained from a olive tree. It is commonly used as a cooking oil and in hundreds of skincare products. The reason it is so popular in skincare is because it contains natural antioxidants and protects the skin from harmful damage. It is high in Vitamin E and Vitamin K and contains Fatty Acids, Omega-3.
My mum met an old lady in her 70's who had beautiful skin with barely any wrinkles, the lady said all she used was Olive Oil. She smoked, she drank, and worshiped the sun which are all factors of seriously premature ageing but the natural antioxidants in Olive Oil can heal and repair that damage. I'm not saying it was definitely down to the Olive Oil as to why her skin looked so young but there is a possibility that it could of been.
Olive Oil is used in skincare products mixed in with masses of chemicals, so why not just use the real thing. It's a more greener option, it helps the environment, and is a lot cheaper. If you are going to use Olive Oil for beauty purposes then its best to get 'Italian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil' as it is more natural. I have purchased this at Marks & Spencers for £3 in a 200ml bottle.
Olive Oil can be used as a chemical-free eye make-up remover. I have used this and it has removed all traces of mascara and I wear tons. The Olive Oil is actually beneficial to the skin around your eyes but make sure your close your eyes whilst doing this or it might sting. Just use a few drops on a cotton pad and place on your eye to soak up all the eye make-up.
You can use it as a nightly moisturiser, but only use a 5p sized amount as it is an oil and can get quite greasy. I don't have dry skin but this would work wonders for dry skin sufferers. My skin type is normal/sensitive and my skin felt baby soft after using Olive Oil. The smell isn't flattering to me, it smells like you are putting cooking oil on your face which is exactly what you're doing, but for a good reason! Although it is an oil I have not suffered any breakouts, and I have heard it even works great for people with oily skin as it is a natural oil.
You can add it to a bath and it will sort out any dry skin problems or use it as a body moisturiser or hand cream. If you have severe dry skin then you could also mix it with Shea Butter which is also known for it's moisturising properties. I don't know where you can purchase this as it is pretty rare to find in shops but you could do a bit of browsing online.
If Olive Oil doesn't appeal to you as a moisturiser then you can use it as a face mask instead, leave it on for 10 minutes. It will still leave you with moisturised skin. You can also use it to exfoliate by adding some sea salt or even sugar. Rub in circular motions and you'll be left with radiant skin!
It can also be used as a hair mask, although be cautious when doing this. I've just slathered it on my hair, washed out with shampoo and was left with severely greasy hair, I had to go to the hairdressers the next day which was embarrassing, it would not come out! I still tried it again though, and 4 table spoons does the trick heated in the microwave for 3 minutes to reconstruct damaged hair. I have damaged hair from bleaching my hair blonde and using Olive Oil as a hair mask has improved the condition dramatically.
It can also be used as a leave in conditioner and can protect your hair from sun damage. Ken Peeves, celebrity hairdresser of Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria introduced me to this trick. Use a minimum amount and glide down your hair with your fingertips.
Obviously, Olive Oil also provides great benefits when it is eaten too, it can help protect against heart disease, and lower cholesterol levels. So remember to add it to cooking every now and again. I wouldn't recommend drinking it though, it might make you sick.
There are many types of Olive Oil such as :
Extra Virgin - Least Processed.
Pure Olive Oil - This Olive Oil does not contain as high levels of Vitamin E.
Light Olive Oil - Most Processed.
I'm addicted to Olive oil. I'm a beauty junkie and a health freak and I always try to use anything natural before ultimately ending up buying lots of commercial products that are loaded with chemicals. But Olive oil easily ranks among one of my favorite things in the entire universe. For a little bit of trivia, Olive oil is (obviously) derived from the Olive fruit and is traditionally used for cooking. I can vouch for the fact that Italians can barely survive without at least one dash of olive oil in their food! Olive oil may be Virgin, Extra-Virgin, Pure or Refined. Of course, the Extra-Virgin one is the most recommended, albeit the most expensive one of all. More than just a delicious addition to pasta and salads, there are quite a few things that you can do with it:
I personally love using Olive oil on my skin. Like I mentioned in my past reviews, my skin is extremely prone to dryness and when winter comes, you can always find me trying to cure these red, peeling spots on my cheek. I slap on quite a lot of moisturizer but nothing beats dabbing a little bit of olive oil on the dry area. Believe it or not, the oil really penetrates into the pores and my skin just greedily soaks it in. Of course that might be due to the extreme dryness of my skin, but some of my friends with normal to dry skins have also told me that the penetration of olive oil is quite faster than the penetration of regular skin moisturizers. I also love whipping up my own homemade mask by mixing honey, olive oil and yoghurt. Trust me, the difference after one application is literally tangible- and it costs less than commercial facial masks!
In addition, there are times where I simply don't have time to wax, or can't be bothered with waiting for the hair to grow long enough and I have to resort to shaving. This is something I am not at all fond of because of the icky red bumps that appear every time afterwards. But I have found that rubbing olive oil upon your legs- or any part you want to shave- instead of shaving cream gives you an extremely smooth shave, and no icky red bumps afterwards. Best of all, the skin ends up being almost as smooth as when waxed. Just be generous with the olive oil or you might end up cutting yourself.
My objective for this year is to grow my hair as long as possible. And that means that I'm getting less trims for fear that they chop off my beloved locks. As a preventive measure against split ends, I regularly dap a little bit of olive oil to the ends. When I have to go out, I dab just enough for it to become smooth to the touch and not look greasy. This is particularly recommended if you're going out in the snow or the wind, the olive oil will certainly prevent your hair from breaking. If you want a really pampering olive oil treatment though, soak a towel into warm water and wrap it around your head. Remove it after a couple of minutes and massage olive oil well into your warm, damp hair. Massaging the roots with olive oil is supposed to encourage healthy growth (according to my beautician), and working the oil down the lengths will ensure a brilliant shine. Since your hair will be warm and humid from the towel, the oil will penetrate more easily. The fatty acids in Olive Oil works wonders for dry hair!
According to my dad's doctor, a spoonful of olive oil each morning keeps the doctor away. Now I cannot vouch for that since I haven't been brave enough to actually drink a tablespoonful of oil but I know many people who do that each morning. In addition, from personal experience, I can say that Olive oil is quite a wonderful anti-inflammatory, and can easily beat most of the high-range creams out there. My brother loves football and can play for hours nonstop and he usually soaks himself in ice before a nice olive oil massage. By the next day, he's running again and his muscles are top-notch. Personally, after typing a billion word university assignments through the night, I love rubbing olive oil on my poor fingers and it genuinely does take the pain/discomfort away. That's for human health. When it comes to pet's healthcare, I can say that olive oil works just as well. My doggie Twinky Capulet was breaking into rashes and kept scratching furiously all day. When all medical shampoos and other medicines failed, I tried dapping just a tiny bit of olive oil on the infected area- and miracles of miracles, she started getting better!
Of course, if Olive Oil were a King, well the kitchen would be its Kingdom. This is the place where olive oil is more frequently used. As mentioned above, it can be used as an accompaniment to pasta or salads, but this can also be drizzled over garlic bread or pizza. When I make garlic bread, I like to drizzle just a teeny tiny amount of olive oil on top of the cheese and garlic butter. The taste and the smell of the bread afterwards are just divine! To top it all, one spoonful of olive oil contains only 120 calories in comparison to one spoonful of regular oil which may contain between 150 to 200 calories. Which is why I always tend to use olive oil for stir frying. Less calories, with an added taste.
Overall Olive Oil is the luxury which you really should have in your kitchen. This is something that can really help you for both beauty, health care and in the kitchen- minus the extra chemical ingredients!
Thank for reading!
Given the state of my current finances, everything I own that CAN double up as something else (thereby saving me the cost of an extra purchase), DOES double up as something else. In this case, the old kitchen standby of olive oil becomes body moisturiser, hair conditioner, face oil, night cream, hand cream.... I could go on, but unfortunately I've run out of ideas. If anyone has anymore, please let me know - all cost cutting measures are greatly received!
So, the product itself....
Olive oil: - a fruit oil obtained from the olive tree, olive oil has been used for centuries in cooking, but has also been used to varying degree's as a fuel source, in medicinal preparations and as a cosmetics aid. In recent years, it has achieved an almost ubiquitous place in the nation's kitchen's, thanks largely to the purported health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and the reliance of that diet on olive oil as a source of dietary fat. Containing 73 grams of heart- healthy monounsaturated fat per 100 grams, olive oil has become the salad dressing of choice for anyone wishing to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But asides from making the odd lettuce leaf that little bit greasier, olive oil serve's to provide a number of equally valuable, albeit slightly more left-field, uses:
Moisturiser - With it's high level of vitamin E (an anti-oxidant found in many high-end moisturisers), olive oil serves as a useful body moisturiser. Used after a shower or bath, and on skin that is still slightly damp, a layer of oil will help lock in moisture, and guarantees all-day relief from dry skin. A word of caution - moderation, as in all things, is the key here. Use too much and you run the risk of looking like an oil slick. It's also important to bear in mind that hair should be kept back when applying to the face or neck - otherwise you may end up having to rewash your hair, thereby wasting on shampoo what you save on moisturiser.
Night Cream - Combined with moisturiser, olive oil provides a deeply moisturising treat for your skin. As it takes a while to sink in, the combination is best applied at night, allowing you to wake up with soft, smooth skin.
Hair conditioner - Apply to damp hair as an overnight treatment. Helps repair and smooth dry, damaged hair. For extra intensive care, combine with regular conditioner and leave to absorb for as long as possible before rinsing. Wrapping the hair in a warm towel helps speed up the process.
Hand Cream - A very cost effective alternative to expensive hand lotions - apply small amount's throughout the day for soft, hydrated hands. Pay special attention to the nail bed for smooth cuticles.
Foot treatment - Slather on the feet at night before putting on cotton soaks. Soften's any rough skin, and is especially effective when combined with a layer of Vaseline.
So there you have it...101 (well, OK, 5) ways to use olive oil. As an added bonus, you get the satisfaction of knowing that your moisturiser/ hand cream/ conditioner etc, is as chemical free and Eco-friendly as they come. And while I'd obviously prefer the money to buy the real things, for now at least, olive oil will do me very nicely indeed.
Olive Oil is made out of the olive frutit of the Olive Tree, botanical name Olea europaea. It seems that 95% of the Olive Trees are cultivated in the Mediterranean Region.
When you buy this Oil from the supermarket the purest and superior form comes with the name on the label as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, this way you are sure that is not modified in any shape or form and you get the best of the benefits out of it.
This oils can be used in salads, frying , making stews or dipping. Is also an amazing oil that can be used for cosmetic purposes, applied directly on the skin will keep the skin looking supple and young, can also be used as an carrier oil in Aromatherapy, for massage and face, it does not clog pores but some people with oily skin can find it a bit to heavy on the face. This can easily replace Johnsons Baby Oil making a far more superior healthy natural choice.
The high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant substances gives it a great health benefit and some studies have shown that can offer protection against heart diseases and controlling cholesterol levels.
Another good use is to rub some Olive Oil in the ends of the hair a day or at least a few hours before washing. This way hair will much more manageable and it can privet spilt end
All this goes without saying that this is my favourite oil in the world, the flavoured and it's benefits are second to none.
The olive branch - the symbol of peace - is one that I appreciate.
I associate olive oil with the many holidays I have had in the past on Greek islands; driving in a bus past huge olive groves baking in the meditteranean sun, walking past them on pot-holed lanes in the morning on the way to the bakery, searching in the little supermakets for tins of the stuff to cook with on the dodgy self-catering two ringed electic stove. Olive oil has pleasing associations.
This consumption of fine olive oil on holiday has given me a taste for the (organic) extra virgin type which I buy from Tesco (£3.45 at the last shop) and use for the majority of my cooking.
Other oilive oil usage
I have read on previous reviews how olive oil can be used for dry hair and I plan to have a go at that - and how it can be used to take make up off (I do that). However, I go one further than that and I use it as a body moisturiser.
Many cosmetics and creams have got ingredients in them that consumers are probably better off not knowing eg - collagen is a slaughterhouse by-product. Also, when I gave birth to my daughter, I was informed that my placenta was being taken off to 'Oil of Ulay/Olay' to become part of their creams. It quite cheered me in a strange post-natal way that someone somewhere would be eventually wearing my placenta - well, waste not want not and it's arguably preferable to abbatoir left-overs. I digress. The point is, why put something horrible on your face and body when you can use premium natural olive oil?
I decant some of the oil from the bottle into a container a bit like a travel bottle you can buy from high street chemists and take it to the bathroom. After a bath or shower, whilst I am still slightly damp, I rub it in. This usually involves having an attractive bath hat on to keep the oil off my hair and then I usually put my pjs back on a further 10 mins whilst the oil sinks in. After this - all oilyness has disappeared and I can get dressed for work.
The benefits of this - is not only that you are putting very natural, premium ingredients onto your skin - but you are also putting a good quantity of Vitamin E on too. You can see Vit E being used as a selling point for many creams -and indeed, the Body Shop sells pure Vit E oil in a tiny bottle as a skin tonic. ( Vitamin E helps to 'sweep up' the cancer-causing free radicals that we get from the environment and our own digestion). I think it is quite a good idea to cut out the middle man and get a decent healthy dose of Vitamin E from a source that is much less expensive .
Also, your skin is the biggest organ of your body - we cannot kid ourselves that the stuff we rub in does not get absorbed into our underlying tissues.
How many years have I done this and what is my skin like?
Good question - because if I had done all this and my skin was pants it would be meaningless. I have been rubbing olive oil in daily for around 5 years now. I actually like how shiny I look afterwards (a bit like a greek athlete I fancy) but that vey quickly disappears and my skin is soft. I have quite dry skin. I usually mix some olive oil with a vegan moisuriser for my face and I feel that my face is left with a deep moisturising and a barrier over the top which helps prevent it drying out (central heating, wind, sun)
If you want to give it a go -I wouldn't annoint yourself with any old olive oil though. Pick some of the good stuff and make sure it is organic; I don't think rubbing pesticide residue onto yourself is a good idea.
In this review I shall talk about using olive oil for the skin and hair --
I love to use olive oil as a mask for my hair - if I am going to wash my hair in the morning, then before I go to bed I will take a palmfull of extra virgin olive oil and run it through the bottom half of my hair. I then wrap my hair up in a bun and place a towel over my pillow before I go to bed. When I wash my hair in the morning, it is much softer and silkier, I also feel it really helps enhance highlights and shine to the hair and my hair feels very clean after using olive oil.
Sometimes I use olive oil to remove my make up - I put a small amount on a cotton ball and rub it over my face and sweep over my eyes. It does not irritate the skin at all and really leaves my skin soft and supple. It is the only thing that really removes waterproof mascara without leaving me with red eyes!
Overall, olive oil is a great beauty product for cleaning and softening skin and hair!
Apart from beer and wine the only other liquid that is consumed in large quantities in my household is olive oil. I love everything about olive oil - the gnarled trunks of the trees, the colour of the leaves and the fruit, the smooth texture and the taste. It is a very important substance in our family and if you bare with me I will tell you all I know about olive oil.
It all started about 23 years ago when my husband's parents bought four hectares of land in the valley of Monchique in Portugal. They had been searching for land to buy in Spain but for what they wanted the prices were too high so they opted for Portugal instead. For many years they never lived on the land but lived on a boat in the marina. Occasionally they would take a trip to the land to tidy the place up a little as it was always overgrown and apart from the run-down cottage and an adega had no other buildings on the land.
After living on the boat for about three years they suddenly decided to sell the boat and move on to the land in a make-shift way. It was a bit like camping on a grand scale. They had a small caravan and for a while until they built a better abode this was their home. Apart from the many orange and lemon trees they also acquired several ancient olive trees. At first they didn't do anything with the olives as they were too busy building a home but as time passed they cultivated the terraces and with the help of Manel, the old Portuguese guy who lived down the valley, they learnt about how to care for these ancient trees.
In 1990 I moved over to Portugal with my husband and son but we lived on the coast. We often went up to the land to help and from July to November this plot of land and beaten up old caravan became our home while our parents went back to the UK for a few months. This is the time I became initiated in to the olive growing business.
As the olive tree is a native of the Mediterranean Coast the climate has to be just right and olives are not generally found in high altitudes. Although Portugal is situated on the Atlantic Coast it does still have a Mediterranean climate. In order for the fruit to ripen properly, it needs mild winters as temperatures lower than 15 degrees can be fatal - sufficient rain in autumn and spring and hot summers. For olives to survive, the rainfall has to be at least 8.5 inches annually. If it fell lower than this then we used to switch on the irrigation system which was quite basic really - just a network of pipes spread over shallow channels amongst the groves. The water came from the nearby well as there was no running tap water in the valley. This is normal in the valleys. Following a period of winter dormancy lasting from November to February, the olive's growing cycle begins in March - April, with the appearance of new shoots and buds which will produce flowers and fruit. Olive trees blossom in May-June. The fruit develops over the summer and ripens in October. Depending on the variety, harvesting takes place from September (for green olives) until late February (for black and late-ripening varieties). Most of the olives grown on our land were green and the harvesting usually took place in late September/October.
Harvesting the olives is hard work but fun. In the valley, the old traditional methods are still used. Choosing the best time and method for harvesting is essential: whether the olives should be allowed to fall from the tree by themselves, at the risk of damaging much of the crop, or picked early; whether they should be picked by hand using a long stick or knife, or by the modern vibration method. The quality of the harvested olives will depend in part on the method chosen. With the help of the locals we always used sticks to knock the olives off the branches where they would then fall on to the ground which was covered with large sheets. All traces of rot and debris must be then carefully removed. Although, often invisible to the naked eye, this can affect the oleic acid content, and thus the quality and classification of the oil.
After the olives have been harvested they have to be scooped up and placed on a trailer to be taken to the mill. This was generally done by Manel who had an old tractor. Apart from our olives there were two other Portuguese families' quota of olives which were transported as well. The miller usually stores the olives a few days until he thinks they are ripe enough to be crushed. Crushing the olives prior to pressing is the first step in the process of producing olive oil. It is his job also to sort the olives and and to clean them so all evidence of chemical sprays have been removed. The principle is simple: the olives are crushed - with or without their pits, depending on local custom until they are reduced to a paste which can then be beaten to facilitate pressing. In the past, the crushed olives were allowed to drain and in some mills in Portugal this stage still takes place. This step produces a pure unpressed oil marketed under the name fleur d'olive, or premium virgin oil. Crushing is just as important as pressing, and it is carried out with particular care. In the old days, animals were used to turn the mill stones but have been gradually replaced by water power and the single grindstone by two or three grindstones installed one above the other. The more recent development of course, is electricity but we didn't get electricity in this valley until about 8 years ago. Instead diesel generators were used. Consequently, the old techniques were used and sometimes even manual crushing. Certain archaic techniques are sometimes more profitable for small volumes of production.
We are not talking about massive quantities of olive oil being produced here - it's three families' quotas of olives picked from their own trees on their land, collected together and then taken to the Cooperative to be pressed. The other families had lived in the valley all of their lives and depended on agriculture for their livelihood so their quota of olive oil was more important to them than us as it had to last them all year not only for cooking but other uses which I will mention later. It is a known fact that at various times in history those depending on agriculture for their livelihood have formed cooperative organisations in order to relieve the problems associated with natural or economic difficulties. Cooperatives are most common in the wine and olive oil industries. In Spain, Portugal and Greece they are omnipresent.
However, as in the wine industry, the disadvantage of the co-operative system lies in its tendency to blend products from different origins and of different grades (sometimes of mediocre value), which can impair overall quality. Due to the relatively small supply and the substantial qualities of olives harvested from ill-tended ornamental groves (an acre or so planted around a holiday villa) for example, many co-operatives are reduced to pressing large quantities of poor quality olives. However, the cooperative we used was very good as it recognised the value of careful selection and sorted the olives accordig to origin and grade, and processed them in seperate lots.
I think at this stage I should probably mention a little about classification although this didn't really affect us as we didn't sell any of our olive oil. Any surplus bottles we had we gave away as presents to relatives, friends, or other Portuguese in the valley. In practice, all olive oils sold on the retail market even the least costly, are classified "extra virgin." In theory this should have a maximum acidity content of 1 per cent ( a sign of quality and purity). In most countries this is not always illustrated on the label. The classification is therefore far from adequate for evaluating the quality of the product or for informing the customer. It establishes a "guaranteed minimum " of purity, but does not specify whether or not the oil is fresh, where it comes from, whether it is a blend made from two different harvests, and so on. Consumers should look for the name of the grower (if specified), the brand, the distributor, or better yet buy direct from the mill whenever possible.
Although olive oil is less unstable than most other vegetable oils, appropriate precautions should be taken for storing it. Like wine, olive oil must be stored away from air and light to prevent it from becoming rancid (i.e. oxidising). Opaque containers are preferable and once a bottle or can has been opened, its contents should be consumed entirely before opening another one. Sometimes we stored the oil in bottles but most of the time we kept it in earthenware jugs which had been left abandoned in the adega (a brick house used for brewing medronha - a Portuguese spirit). It was easy then to decant into bottles for table use. The old cottage which was half derelict became the cellar to store the oil and wine as it was extremely cool. Containers of olive oil should always be kept tightly shut and never stored in an enclosed space where there are strong odours, such as the refrigerator.
Olive oil has many uses and in Portugal these uses are far more varied than in Britain. Although it has become more popular in recent years olive oil was not always used for cooking in UK as most people would use butter or other oils like sunflower oil. Katerina, the old lady, who lived in the next quinta along the valley used olive oil for cooking, salad dressing, medication, tonic for the skin and hair and oil for her lamps. This lady was very inventive and was always bemused with the ways of the English. She could never understand why we never grew vegetables - only flowers. In the valleys, they do not see the point of growing something if it can't be eaten.
Olive oil's benefits to health have always been known in the valleys in Portugal but were well known in ancient times also; Hippocrates and his Greek pals all used it as an ingredient for medications, and especially as a basic ingredient for ointments. When combined with essential oils extracted from other plants, it has a special place in traditional folk remedies, which inspire today's proponents of natural medicine. Its warming, soothing properties make it an ideal as an ingredient in massage ointments. The ancients used it to oil their bodies prior to athletic events and to restore muscles and limbs in an early form of physiotherapy. The olive leaf is also a natural fungicide.
Olive oil and olive leaves are also widely used as cosmetics. The leaf is rich in antioxidants and regenerates the cells of the epidermis. Olive oil protects the skin and adds lustre to the hair. Today, when the extensive mass production of cosmetics and foodstuffs raises the spector of cost cutting practices that could be harmful to our health, olive oil retains its image as a "healthy" household product - to be found in the kitchen, bathroom and medicine cabinet.
Unlike other commonly used oils, which are extracted by refining (i.e. industrial processing), olive oil extracted by simple cold pressing retains components in suspension, which chemists call "unsaponifiable" - that is, the particles which give olive oil its therapeutic properties. These pigments, vitamins and antioxidants act effectively to prevent cardo-vascular disease and retard the signs of ageing. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, also beneficial to health.
So am I healthy you may ask? If I said yes I would be blowing my own trumpet as the saying goes. Let's just say I very rarely get ill and to say that I have lived in the sun on and off for over 12 years I don't have any lines or wrinkles. I did used to use olive oil as a moisturiser and still do most of the time. I have always used it as a conditioner on my hair when it gets too dry which leaves it shiny and in good condition. I know it doesn't smell too good but you can add herbs or spices (maceration) to improve the smell - even citrus peel, anise and so on. Not sure if I will live to 90 like Katerina but I will certainly give it a go.
Our parents have now moved back to England and we have also moved away but the land is still there and up for sale, at the moment. In fact it has been up for sale for years. Every now and again one family member goes back to tend the jungle as it easily gets overgrown. Some of the old Portuguese have moved away to Portimao and other cities and the plots of land have been sold to other foreigners. The Portuguese who are left still pick our olives and they still harvest them in the way their forefathers did. I don't really miss living there anymore as it has changed so much and all the old ways are dying out but I do miss the hot sunny days when I used to sit under an old bamboo shade, dipping huge chunks of home-made bread into a dish of olive oil, sprinkled with rock salt and garlic. Followed by a cold beer - an end to a perfect day!
Small wonder that the ancients believed the olive tree, its fruit and its oil were a gift from the gods. Such a useful tree could hardly have come about by chance. Today, beliefs have changed but the olive tree is as much a treasure as ever.
My love/hate relationship with Olive Oil.
First the hate. Eating it.
I'm sorry, call me an imbecile, but I'm just not a big fan of the taste of Olive Oil.
I like it in a dressing, but if you fry my eggs in it, they will be staying on the plate. Just a matter of personal taste, but in the interests of a balanced review etc etc.
So, the love.
In my humble opinion, Olive Oil is one of the great unsung budget beaty secrets.
I've been coverted from a sceptic, into a devotee, after reading somewhere that it worked well as a hot oil in hair.
So this is what I tried first. I heated it up, left it on a few minutes, and tentatively washed it out. My thick and thirsty hair was now silky and smooth. A great result.
So next I tried putting it on overnight (sod the pillows) and washed it out in the morning. Fantastic! Even softer silkier hair, soothed scalp, washed out easily. Lovely.
So then I pondered about using it on the body. Wow!
You would imagine it to sit on the skin and leave you greasy, but on my skin at least it soaks in beautifully, is so soothing and it smells delicious! (I know, I'm a bit strange, I hate it on food but it smells beautiful on skin!)
I sometimes just use the oil, and sometimes just mix a splash in with my usual lotion, for an extra treat.
So then I tried it on my face. You would think that it was too heavy to use on facial skin. Nope, again, it soaks in beautifully, and strangely, it seems to regulate the skin's oil production.
I know use this every night, and a little in the day too. My skin's texture has improved, I have MUCH fewer spots, MUCH less oily skin, and all from olive oil!
I also recommend Argan, another oil you can eat, and virgin coconut too!
Olive Oil, most of us use it and if you don't then it's probably in your food so I thought I'd share some fun facts about it;
* The olive is a fruit not a vegetable
~ Regularly consuming olive oil is thought to reduce your risk of having a heart attack
* It contains about 80% monosaturated fats, which are the good ones that help your body
~ It is 100% natural
* Protects against blood clotting and arteriosclerosis
~ It decomposes at 220 degrees Celsius
* Contains anti-acidic properties
~ Full of vitamins A1, B1 and E
* Makes food easier to digest
~ Good for pregnant women
* If you're going to fry food then use olive oil, it locks in the nutrients better
~ Olives have been eaten for thousands of years
* It can be kept for two years
~ Spain is the largest producer of olive oil
* It prevents the oxidation of fatty acids
~ Maintains the whiteness of teeth
* Helps to protect from stomach ulcers
~ Australia is the biggest consumer of olive oil
* 90% of olives are made into olive oil
Enjoy and please remember to use this rather than other oils, it's so much better for you!
This is a great tip for all you mum's. My daughter suffers with terrible cradle cap, you know that flaky yellow scalp that inflicts a lot of babies.
Well I had tried everything even the medicated shampoos such as dentinox specially made for cradle cap, however it still remained firmly attatched to her scalp.
My mother mentioned that her mother used to say put olive oil in their hair and comb it a few hours later, but I just laughed and said I'd try another shampoo, however when that failed I secretly decided to give the olive oil trick a try.
So I sat wee mini me on my lap and gently massaged olive oil into her hair, she actually seemed to enjoy it and we had great fun styling her usually wispy hair into a mohican!
It made her hair look so greasy and I was tempted to wash it off immediately but I stuck with it and a few hours later gently brushed her hair forward and then backwards. To my amazement those stubborn little flakes began to come away. I left it a while longer and repeated the brushing and more of the flakes came out. That evening I washed her hair as usual with Johnsons and it was back to normal, with half the flakes I'd started out with.
Iv repeated this process twice since and I can happily say my babe is pretty much free of cradle cap.
What a cheap, natural and easy way to get rid of it instead of using all those harsh shampoo's....
I'll eventually have to admit to mom that her tip worked and I'l get the 'I told you so....' but its a small price to pay for my baby's scalp to be clean and normal looking!
There are many types of olive oil. The first pressing from the olives is known as the Extra Virgin olive oil. This is very low in acid and contains the maximum goodness and is thicker than the other olive oils this is why it is the most expensive of all the oils.
After the first pressing you get the Virgin olive oil which is high in acidity then the regular olive oil. This is quite often blended with other oils.
Most of the olive oils that are available come from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.
Olives originated from Crete 5 - 7 thousand years ago.
Olive oil is mild on the intestines it is also beneficial for heart disease, thrombosis, asthma, colon cancer, hot flushes and to help lower cholesterol. It has also got anti- inflammatory properties and is a good antioxidant. It can help protect against free radicals.
Olive oil is high in vitamin E this is good not only for health but also the skin.
The olives for oil are harvested in late November and December. The trees are beaten so that the olives fall into nets laid on the floor below. Once this happens they cease to be nourished from the tree and acidity starts to develop.
For the best olive oil there needs to be low acidity.
It is best to press the olives within 24hours of picking them but this is seldom achieved.
If olives are left too long they rot and the smell is quite revolting (like dung!).
Olive oil is used in cooking (it does burn so is best not to use for frying). Used as a dressing in salads, sprinkled on toast and bread. As a moisturiser or skin barrier and warmed (tepid) can be used to loosen earwax, tilt head pour a little oil in leave for 5-10 mins then clean the ear with a cotton bud.
Olive oil is widely available in supermarkets and smaller shops. The price depends on what type of olive oil you buy, size, brand and place of purchase.
The cheapest starting at £1.19 for a small bottle of regular olive oil
Olive oil comes from olives (as you may have guessed) which are pressed, to squeeze out the juice, which is then filtered to produce the oil.
The Extra vergin one is less diluted than the normal one, and therefore more expensive.
Olive oil is produced mainly in Mediterranean countries, with Italy, Spain and Turkey being the largest producers. It is now easily available in UK, at any large supermarket and many of the smaller ones too.
I buy it either from Tesco or from a Turkish shop not far from where I live.
I use it to cook, and I only use this oil. It is much healthier and smells much nicer than any other oil. Off course it is a bit more expensive, but it is better to spend 5 pennies more and do not smell like a dead fish and eat greasy food!
I also use it raw together with salad and tomatoes. Olive oil is very healthy and should be used in place of seed oils. The reason for this is that the fats of olive oils are not as bad as those in other oils. Particularly if you go for extra virgin, this is very low in bad fats.
I must admit that when I first tasted olive oil I couldn't stand it and even the site of two little olives on a pizza would make me want to puke. I now love me olives and I could slurp extra virgin straight from the bottle. Olive oil is an acquired taste.
The health advantages of olive oil are now well known. Olive oil is made up mainly of mono-unsaturated fatty acids with a small amount of polyunsaturated fat. It only contains low quantities of saturates. The oils main advantage over other vegetable oils is that it contains antioxidants and vitamins - principally vitamin E. This is particularly true of the extra virgin varieties that don't lose their vitamin content through the processes of over-refining. One advantage of cooking with olive oil is that it remains low in saturated fat even when it is heated.
It is best to use olive oil while it is still fresh. Even though you might buy a bottle with a 12 month sell by date, I would make sure it is consumed well be that period. Once opened you should use it sooner rather than later. The quality of olive oil will deteriorate if it is exposed to too much heat, light or air so it is important to store it in a cool, dark place.
I personally use olive oil mostly with Italian food. It is an essential addition to all pasta dishes. But it is also nice for creating your own salad dressings. Dripping some extra virgin on to your cucumber, lettuce or tomato for the first time can be life changing experience.
You can also pour olive oil over your skin and rub it all over your body, or even bathe in it - but that would just be silly.
Ok so what is so good about olive oil?
Well, it has possibly the best anti ageing properties of any health oil on the market. The omega 3 within it is fantastic for hair skin and nails. You can drink it. Bath in it, use it as a moisturizer and even wash your hair with it. Most of all drink it. It will speed up your metabolism and help you lose fat. Nothing more said really.