The good old mighty Olives! Hoorah!
Two days ago, we decided to make our way to the Cultural Dom which houses the Mediterranean Olive Exhibition. We were expecting a lot more from the place.. but we got only placards and a few displays. So I thought to teach myself a little more about the Olives which have been cultivated for thousands of years.
All right.. I'll start recollecting what I saw at the exhibition.. one display showed the trunk of the Olive tree. If you have not read about it, one can tell the age of any tree by counting the Tree Rings in the trunk. Here is a wikipedia article that explains the whole science of Tree-Ring dating. But the longevity Olive Tree (the oldest was thought to be 2,000 years old) is not as easy to date as the other tree types. This is because most of the Central Tree Rings tend to disappear with age which makes dating in accurate.
The next interesting display was about the different methods used for extracting the precious oil from the Olive fruits by mean of pressing. Included here the Wikipedia link for your further reading, the Grindstones are the most traditional method. After the Olives are grounded into paste, the paste is spread over Fibre Disks stacked on top of one another and placed into a press to extract the essence out of the paste. Read the Wikipedia link above for other methods including the modern method of Decanting (separation of the Vegetation Water from the Liquid Oil).
The last bit of information that I remembred.. the Colours of different Olive Oils. Well.. they do not dictate the quality of the oils but they tell you a bit about the Olives and the terrain they grow in. There are two factors determining the different colours (more yellowish or greenish): Chlorophyll which sets the Green colour in the oil and Carotenoids which provides the Yellow-Red colour. So very much like human eyes, the different intensity in each of the two factors create a whole different colour in the Olive Oil. Of course whichever press the Oil comes from, the colour varies as well. You can read it in detail in this article.
Wondering about the health benefits of Olive Oil? Read one of my older post!