Olive - Oil

Olive and Olive oil

Cretan Olive oil is the greatest secret of the Cretan Diet and the Cretan longevity. The Cretan Olive oil that is produced in Crete has exquisite quality and the olive products are internationally recognized. Bellow you can find information about the olive, the olive oils and the recognized products of the olive oil tree in Crete.

Historical data

The olive tree in ancient times.

The olive tree is one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world, and its cultivation dates back 6.000 years or more ago. There is some evidence, according to which the olive tree originated in Africa (Abyssinia-Egypt).Some argue that the olive from V. Syria originally popularized in the Greek islands and mainland Greece in 600 BC and in Italy, Sicily, Sardinia and other Mediterranean countries. Regardless of the origin and propagation mode of the olive, is the fact that its cultivation spread to a large extent on the European continent, and this is perhaps why the current naming the European Olive (Olea europea). Especially in the Mediterranean, the olive tree is the overriding culture from antiquity to today. (A. K. Kyritsakis, "Oil", 2007)

The ancient Greeks considered extremely important olive cultivation. It is worth noting that, by special laws of Solon, who studied agronomy motivated to pay particular attention and emphasis on olive. Both the tree and products related to all aspects of everyday life of the ancient Greeks, such as food, religion, decorative vases, wall hangings, jewelry and other items. The olive was for them a symbol of peace, wisdom and victory.Besides the winners of the Olympic games were crowned with olive branch (A. K. Kyritsakis, "Oil", 2007). In classical Athens is obvious the value of the oil from the fact that the winners of the Panathenaic games they received as a prize, the rights of export.

The cultivation of olive trees in Crete.

Olive cultivation is closely linked to the mythology, history, religion, art, and social and economic life of the Cretans. Significant findings confirm that in Crete olive cultivation in the Minoan era. Images of trees, which are found in the palace of Knossos, show that people of that era ate olives and used the oil for food, but also as fuel for lamps. Notably, large clay containers (jars) which stores the oil at that time still maintained the ancient Knossos and Phaistos. In the palaces of ancient Phaistos survive even today parts of a rudimentary mill. Archaeologists believe that the wealth and the economic boom during the Minoan period (3.500 B.C. – 1000 B.C.), due to the trade of Cretan olive oil. (A. K. Kyritsakis, "Oil", 2007)

In Crete, today there is a population of 35.5 million trees, grown with love and care from approximately 95,000 rural families. The oil produced under optimal soil conditions of the Cretan land (lots of sunshine, mild winters, cool summers, mountainous and hilly terrain, natural fertility soils, clean air environment) and growers who have accumulated experience centuries-loving olive oil and environmentally friendly. (NAX, 2006).

Cretan Olive oil.

By the end of 1950′s, when American nutrition experts came to Crete to investigate the causes that were responsible for the longevity of Cretans, they could not believe their eyes! “My God, how much oil do you use!” exclaimed Dr. Ancel Keys, as he was looking at a plate of green salad virtually floating in olive oil. In fact, Dr. A. Keys’ observation was subsequent to similar remarks/observations made centuries earlier by travellers from other regions of the world, who were also interested in scrutinizing the daily life and habits of Cretans.

Today it is believed that the secret for a long and healthy life lies in olive oil, the principal ingredient of Cretan diet. Past and present research conducted in the USA and Europe supports the view that olive oil not only shields the human heart from diseases, but also increases the good operation of other organs or protects the human organism from a long range of diseases. The quality of Cretan and Aegean olive oil enjoys wide reputation all over the world.

This is because it is not an industrial but a natural product received by crushing the olive fruit and is free from preservatives and chemical additives. It is pure, light and tasteful; in short, it is the best olive oil in the world. The olive trees are cultivated with love and care, with due respect for tradition, while the juice is packaged pure by small packaging units that respect themselves and their consumers.

Try pure olive oil instead of butter in your breakfast … just dip country hard-bread, or a slice of whole-kernel bread in it. You may find this an excellent and tasteful alternative to your normal breakfast. Olive oil can be flavoured by mixing it in the bottle with a combination of herbs or those of your choice.

Nutrition value.

Olive oil has been the principal source of fat in the Cretan diet. Almost 40% of calories originate from fat, mainly olive oil. Olive oil includes, to a large extent, monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly in the form of oleic acid, only a few saturated fats, vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants. Because of all these components, it is considered preferable compared to animal fats, and even other vegetable oils. Numerous studies have demonstrated its beneficial effects in cardiovascular diseases, as it helps control of cholesterol blood levels, acts protectively against atheromatic plaque in blood vessels, and possesses antithrombotic qualities (Kushi et al. 1995). Apart from cardiovascular diseases, olive oil also appears to contribute to the prevention of certain forms of cancer, while it also has anti-inflammatory properties (Kushi et al. 1995). Nevertheless, it must be used with restraint, because of its high calorific value.

The olive

The nutritional value of olive.

The utility and usefulness of olives in the human body are known due to rich nutrients. The average energy value of the tree is more than other fruits and vegetables. The olive fruit processed, as offered at our table, it contains olive oil and proteins present in almost all the major amino-sugars, tannins, steroglykozites, and keremprozites soulfolithi. Also minerals with biological value for humans, such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and others. It is noteworthy that the concentration of calcium in olive is not only greater than that of fruits and vegetables, and meat, fish, bread, etc. It is equal to the calcium content of cow's milk. Finally, the olive tree is an important source of vitamin A.

The olive tree as edible product.

The olives are abundant in our country, are following some treatment, a valuable supplement to the daily diet.

The edible olive appetite, stimulates and benefits the organization. According to nutritionists, everyone apart from other foods, and should eat 80 grams of olives a day, because it takes from the olives calcium, vitamins and other nutrients.

Processing takes is proportional to the olive variety, degree of ripeness, taste of man, etc. It would be right to do this processing, when the conserved olives ensures good flavor, good looks and good taste.

Secrets preparation of olives.

Tasty olives when we pay attention to the following key points.

The ripeness: Suitable to maintain green olives, is when they have taken a shine and color is yellowish or greenish. Black olives are suitable to maintain if they have received the purple color to the core, and the type Kalamon when the black color their degree has reached more than half in the flesh.

The collection method: The olives are harvested by hand and not by beating or from the ground. The Throumbolia in this case excluded. Olives beaten, bitten by insects and unclean, unsuitable for preservation. So picking a necessary preparation.

The mode of transport: Caution needs and transportation. Baskets or panniers to carry it, it is good to dress up with paper or burlap.

Containers: Keeping xeprikisma but the olives must be in containers of glass, earthenware, molyvota, wood, nylon and never metal.

The cleaning: A prerequisite for the proper conservation of olives is cleanliness, clean water, well washed containers, pure salt and clean hands.

Salt: You must enter a regular analogy is clean. Good to be tied to touloumpani to hold foreign and waste products.

Oil: The oil that we use in preserved olives must be of excellent quality and sharpness 0.

To maintain the olives in their natural color, green or black, should not come into contact with air, so the xeprikisma and maintaining their good is made in containers with a small opening, or be covered with a lid wrapped with a clean cloth.

Source: Office of Information and Promotion of Agricultural Products, Prefecture of Heraklion

The production of table olives in Crete.

In Crete produced significant quantities of olives of exceptional quality. Fine product is the olive savory, produced from physical attack of the fruit of the Chondrolia fungus  Phoma oleae . Indeed, the olive "savory Ampadia Rethymno Crete" is described as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin).