Of all botanical oils, olive oil is the most ubiquitous in the diet and health literature. Its medicinal uses began with Hippocrates, who used olive oil for skin conditions and as a base for ointments of all kinds. The olive tree holds a deeply revered place in history.
In Greek mythology, Zeus promised Attica to the god or goddess who brought the Greek people the more useful invention. Poseidons gift, alternately described as the horse or salt water, was rejected in favor of Athenas gift of the olive tree. The city was renamed Athens and the olive tree assumed a place of prominence in the citys food, medicine and material production. The award for winning the early Olympic competitions, which were held in Athens, was not a medal, but an olive branch twisted into a crown.
The olive tree and the oil of olives are mentioned throughout the Bible. In the story of Noah and the great flood, the dove returns to the Ark carrying an olive branch, and the oils used to anoint and heal individuals throughout the Bible are made from olives. It was Franciscan missionaries who brought the olive tree to California. The hearty olive groves survived where the Mission San Fernando fell to ruins. They remain largely in Northern California where the cost of land is lower and they are not run out by the more profitable grape crops or housing.
Types Of Olives
The olive, like the peach and almond, is a drupe a fruit surrounding wrapped in a skin and containing a hard seed.
The popularity of the olive, whose botanical name isOlea Europa,has inspired hundreds of varietals. Various types are cross bred to accommodate growing season and climate as they are for most fruit, but olives inspire refinement as a delicacy, much as grapes are cultivated for wine varieties. Plants are selected by the polyphenol and aromatic compound content. These traits, along with the degree of maturity at which the olives are picked, are the main determinants of the oils flavor, stability and yield.
You can purchase olive fruit oil online from several companies at amazon.com.