The Greek land is blessed with a wide range of special products which are developed in the ideal Mediterranean climate. Some of these products are the seasonal fruits and vegetables, the legumes, honey, crocus Kozanis, mastic and so many others. One of the most loved trees for the everyday dietary is the olive tree and its famous product the Greek olive oil. The olive oil is such important for the Greek people as the water. There is no kitchen without Greek olive oil. Greece is at the first place in olive oil consumption with 20 liter per person annually. Also, Greece is the third biggest olive oil producer worldwide but the first in extra virgin olive oil production. The official name of the evergreen, perennial olive tree is ‘’Olea Europea Sativa’’, belongs to the ‘’Oleaceae’’ family and its genus is‘’Olea’’. In the Mediterranean area, the olive trees blossom at the end of the spring and the harvest starts at the end of November till February for the southern areas.
The olive tree and the Greek olive oil between the myth and the history
The olive tree is one of the oldest and most important trees for the Mediterranean people. This tree loves the sea, the Mediterranean sun, grows up even in rugged and infertile grounds and is resistant in conditions like drought and strong winds. It was a faithful fellow in prosperity periods and in hardship periods. The myth says that the Olympic goddess Athena brought the olive tree as a gift to the Greeks and she planted the first tree at a rocky hill in Athens, the Acropolis. Homer mentioned if someone was destroying an olive tree, was punished to death. Even the bludgeon of Hercules was made of wood by olive tree. The olive tree inspired plenty of artists from the ancient years until now. A lot of murals with olives, scenes from the work with the olives and jewelry with olive leaves were discovered through the years in the Hellenic area.
From the prehistoric years, the olive oil was used for a lot of kinds of needs. In the Homeric years, the Greek olive oil was being used as smearing of the body and through the years was used as food, medicament, cosmetic, even like part of rituals. For example, as a cosmetic, we meet the olive oil in Homer’s Odyssey in which Telemachus being cleaned with water and then suffused with olive oil. The Greek olive oil was the gold liquid many years before the black gold’s appearance.
The Greek olive oil, the health and the beauty
The therapeutic and healthy benefits of the Greek olive oil were first mentioned by Hippocrates, the father of Medicine. According to the history, for centuries the olive oil was used for massaging, for wounds treatment, for the pain after burn and for preserving the elasticity of the skin. The olive oil is considered as prevention for many diseases. Doubtless, the olive oil is an elixir for health and longevity. These are only some of the olive oil benefits:
i) Decreases the ageing effects, the gastric liquids and protects the organism from the harmful sun rays because contains a great amount of vitamin E.
ii) The Greek olive oil contains antioxidants, vitamins and polyphenol which help to the prevention of various disorders of the organism and also to the prevention of many types of cancer as the breast cancer, the skin cancer the prostate cancer and others. The olive oil’s oleic acid protects the DNA and the cells from alterations which may lead to cancer.
iii) Assists the absorption of calcium so is ideal for the healthy bone growing in the small children.
As a cosmetic, is very beneficial for the hair and the skin because contains antioxidant elements, vitamin E and also, high rates of vitamin K, sodium, potassium and iron. The skin and the hair are protected against premature ageing. Below you can see three beauty tips which contain Greek olive oil:
You need only 50ml Greek olive oil and 50ml bay oil. Mix it and comb it through your hair before washing it, wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave the ‘’gold liquid’’ to act for 30 minutes. Then wash your hair as usually.
Greek olive oil for the area around the eyes
If you prefer a natural way of life and you do not want to use chemical creams on your face, you can place some drops of olive oil on a cotton wool and dab the area around the eyes. You will be well surprised from the results!
For winter, chapped lips
With some drops of Greek olive oil, moisturize your lips at night. The next day you will wake up with red, smooth and ready for kissing lips!
Names and specifications of the best Greek olive oil – virgin olive oils
The olive oil is getting out directly from the olive fruit using mechanicals under thermal conditions.
- Extra virgin oil: virgin oil with acid content not more than 1gr per 100gr oil and organoleptic grading of not less than 6.5.
- Virgin oil: virgin oil with acid content not more than 2gr per 100gr oil and organoleptic grading not less than 5.5.
- Lampante olive oil: virgin oil with oleic acid more than 2gr per 100gr oil.
In Greece there are several varieties of olive fruits which provide different taste characteristics among the Greeks olive oil like Koroneiki, Athinolia, Kalamon, Amphissis, Chalkidikis, Thassou and below are the most popular of them:
Koroneiki:this variety covers the 60% of the Greek production, small size fruit which gives the finest Greek olive oil and has an intensive fruit and herbal taste.
Athinolia: medium size and oval shape fruit which gives a perfect quality Greek olive oil with a low viscosity.
Kalamon: medium hardiness fruit with asymmetric shape which gives the most famous table Greek olive oil around the world.
You should visit Greece so you can buy high quality organic farming Greek olive oil from olive growers who are all over the country. The olive oil and especially the Greek olive oil is a gift of Nature for all of us and deserve to have a place in our heart and our home.