Olive oil is the pure juice pressed from the fruit of the olive tree. It has been cultivated for over 5000 years around the Mediterranean and has been used variously as a fuel, food, medicine and cosmetic.
Greece is one of the top 3 producers of olive oil in the world — and Cretan olive oil is the finest of them all.
Recently, olive oil (and particularly Extra Virgin Olive Oil) has been recognised as one of the healthiest foods you can get, promoting long life and improving resistance to many of the life threatening diseases that are the curse of the western World.
Isn’t Olive Oil Fat?
You can’t compare olive oil with other oils and fats. It’s best to look at it as fruit juice. It does contain fat of course, but this is the best “fat” you can eat, and is actually good for you.
Olive oil is the only oil or fat that is produced without refining or any chemical or unnatural processes. Thus it retains all its (considerable) vitamin and mineral goodness.
- reduces cholesterol
- is free from saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats
- has a naturally occurring chemical which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent which helps reduce the severity and occurrence of arthritis and asthma.
- contains a high percentage of phenols, vitamin E and other anti-oxidizing substances protecting the body from the negative effects of free radicals and thus helping prevent cancer and delaying the ageing process.
Which Olive Oil is best?
There are a few grade of oil you can choose from:
Extra Virgin Olive oil is pressed from the olive without help from heat treatments or other processing, and produces the purest and best oil. This is the most expensive and you should use this for dressings, especially.
Virgin Olive Oil comes from the second pressing and is still a quality tasty oil. Use this for infusing herbs (and salad dressings too).
Pure Olive Oil is produced using some filtering or processing. This oil is less expensive and can be used for frying. You should do all your frying in this type of oil. It is so robust, you can use it many times without any reduction in its flavour or quality.
Which Olive Oil Should I Buy?
Olive oil is in great demand because people are now aware of its health benefits, particularly when compared to other fats and oils. But who produces the best olive oil?
Because of this demand, producers all over the world are resorting to more mechanical and unnatural method of production. Even oils labeled Extra Virgin can sometimes be simply less quality oils that have had their acidity reduced, as this is a criterion for the Extra Virgin mark.
Demand for the oil has encouraged more cost-reducing methods of production through increased automation and concentrating production in ever larger factories. These methods result in a less nutritious product.
On the Greek Island of Crete, the production of olive oil is almost wholly by smallholdings. Small communities will grow olive trees and produce the oil for themselves, their own restaurants, and their own community in the same way they have for centuries.
Walk through olive groves on Crete in November through to February and you will see the families gathered for the harvest, shawls and headscarves wrapped close to keep out the morning chills. Occasionally you’ll hear the low drone of little mechanical flailing machines to gently beat the branches laden with the olives — a Cretan concession to the mechanical age.
Because of this tradition, many people say that you can guarantee the authentic and unprocessed nature of organic Cretan Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Take into account the Cretan soil, the stuff from which the olives acquire all their goodness, and you get the reason why the olive oil from Crete is the best tasting. For millions of years, the rains have washed minerals and nutrients from the mountainsides and hillsides of this mountainous island, and deposited them on the plains and valleys around the coasts — the very place where you will find rows and rows of olive trees, about 30 million of them!
Cretan Olive Oil — the best in the world for health and long life!
Olive Oil – Why This is the World’s Oldest Miracle Food