Curious things

All of us, in one way or another, are able to differentiate a handcrafted product from an industrial one. Considering their taste, aroma and texture, there is an abyss between them.

After a period of globalization and industrialization of the food industry, we have realized that we do not want to be malnourished, almost baited with large quantities of cheap transgenic products, that the consequences of a poor diet affect our health in the mid-run. And since there are no miracles, we are returning to our roots in this respect. Conscious farmers seek ways to produce food in a traditional way but applying new technologies. Finding the balance is their main task.  Conserving the product’s quality and authenticity is the purpose of their business.

Many of us often promised to ourselves not to buy ‘Chinese food’ again. So many times we found out that a cheap hammer breaks before nailing a nail which, in its turn, bends before entering the wall, that a marker does not mark and a sticky tape does not stick… but being blinded by cheap prices we do it again and again. We know that miracles do not exist and it is impossible to manufacture a high quality cheap product. The difference is that a broken hammer is thrown away and the only thing left is our rage for having being fooled once again; however, cheap food which is brought to maturity artificially by chemical and/or transgenic means does not only lose its flavor, its residues eventually get accumulates in our bodies and damage our health.

It is evident that food processed traditionally is not the cheapest. Imagine Iberian pigs grazing freely in the olive groves and feeding on acorns; then imagine the legs of ham curing in the shade for a long time, sometimes up to 3 years. And on the contrary, animals fed with modified waste, not only of vegetable origin, but also of animal origin; tons of meat piled and ‘aged’ or rather, dissected artificially in warehouses. The quality, the taste, and hence the price of these products are very different.

The same applies to the production of olive oil. Small family businesses harvest olives manually in the optimal season. The traditional technology of extraction of EXTRA VIRGIN oil requires that the processing steps (washing, squeezing…) take place at low temperatures not exceeding 24 degrees. However, higher temperatures allow extracting larger quantities of oil. We greatly appreciate and are proud of the farmers who, with their own name, honor their products and vice versa, who opt for an oil of exceptional quality, even if it does not allow them obtaining great benefits. This oil makes you wait, it is sold almost entirely in the order phase, people are willing to come to get it from afar.

When choosing oil, pay attention to the following:

  1. Choose the oil with indication of the variety of olives of which it is made. It is not only a quality criterion, but also an indicator of flavor.
  2. Good oil always has the name of the source

If you are concerned about your health, if you like healthy and tasty food, traditions interest you, be sure to try the authentic products made by hand. You will discover a new world of senses, you will penetrate it and you will not ever want to return.

It is one of the oldest vegetable fats and it is the main source of lipids in the Mediterranean diet. It is so beneficial for your health.

Olive oil is oily juice obtained from the extraction of olives, of which there are many varieties having different characteristics depending on the use.

Empeltre, Picual, Hojiblanca, Arbequina, Cornicabra, Blanqueta, Picuda, Koroneiki, Lechin…

There are also different types of olive oil, depending on the mode of extraction or production process. Extra virgin olive oil is the purest, which is extracted by cold pressing.

This oil will be most beneficial because it contains intact all features of olive oil.

COMPOSITION

Olive oil gives us different nutrients that are beneficial to our health:

Depending on the extraction method and the oil type, it will be more or less rich in the components beneficial to the health.

We could distinguish two main parts: the saponifiable part or olive oil fat (98%) and the unsaponifiable part, as well as third part containing other components of a much lesser amount.

These fatty acids are essential to health as the body does not have the capacity for their synthesis, they are essential fatty acids.

The mono-unsaturated fatty acids are most abundant, then follow the saturated ones and the polyunsaturated ones in fewer quantity:

  • Oleic acid (mono-unsaturated) 63-80%
  • Palmitic acid (saturated) 7 -17%
  • Stearic acid (saturated) 1.5-5%
  • Palmitoleic acid (mono-unsaturated) 0.3-3%
  • Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated) 3-14%
  • Linolenic Acid (polyunsaturated) 1.5%

The unsaponifiable fraction is formed by hydrocarbons, sterols and tocopherols such as vitamin E (every 13 grams of olive oil contain 1.56 mcg of vitamin E).

In much fewer quantity: polyphenols (taste), carotenoids and chlorophyll (color) and other volatile components that give it its flavor.

Although no less important, poly-phenols, including oleocanthal, are components which are good to health.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CONSUMING OLIVE OIL

It is common knowledge that consuming olive oil is good to health.

To be sufficiently beneficial, the recommended dose is 40 grams a day, which is 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls.

DECREASING CHOLESTEROL

It regulates levels of blood cholesterol; thanks to the monounsaturated fatty acids, LDL levels decrease.

The phyto-sterols increase HDL, which helps balance cholesterol, while improving the state of health for people with cardiovascular diseases and arteriosclerosis.

AGAINST HYPERTENSION

It helps reducing hypertension due to poly-phenols and oleic acids.

IMPROVING DIGESTIVE FUNCTION

In the digestive tract it acts as a protector against excessive stomach acids.

It improves the PH of the body by increasing it, also due to a better absorption of calcium and magnesium.

It prevents constipation.

It improves the digestion of the nutrients by stimulating the secretion of bile from the gallbladder, which helps preventing slow or heavy digestions of fats.

METABOLIC AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS

It improves metabolic functions and favors brain development.

It favors the formation of cell membranes and brain tissue.

It seems that people who consume more saturated fat compared to those who consume less, have poorer memory. People who consume more monounsaturated fats contained in the olive oil have cognitive improvement over time.

Polyphenols also contribute in it.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTION OF OLEOCANTHAL

This natural organic component of olive oil that partially gives the flavor to the oil, has an anti-inflammatory action similar to that of ibuprofen.

AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS

It improves the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc. So it is helpful for bone growth.

And it is essential during menopause.

It improves the absorption of fat-soluble micronutrients such as vitamins A and D.

ANTIOXIDANT ACTION

It acts as an antioxidant, it reduces the aging of the cell membrane due to its vitamin E content.

SENSE OF SATIETY

People in survey groups mentioned an effect of satiety more significant if they had ingested olive oil and with high content of serotonin. Other surveys also showed the same.

BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL IN COSMETICS AND EXTERNAL APPLICATION

Since ancient years oil has been used in natural form or in creams for skin improvement.

In the past, Galen made creams by mixing oil with wax or made lotions by mixing oil with milk.

As an ointment for both muscle and relaxing massages.

Olive oil gives skin elasticity and hydration.

It also help improving hydration and elasticity of the skin in hair and nails areas.

As eye makeup remover on a cotton ball.

As a hair restorer before washing hair: apply to your hair, hold for 5 minutes, wash and rinse thoroughly.

It is also used for making soaps, mixing it with caustic soda.

In Spain there are different types of olives for oil crop that offer a high quality of different shades and hues.

Those touches which differentiate one oil from another basically depend on the climatic conditions in which the olive has been grown or on the olive class used.

Let’s do a review of the main olive varieties and explain their distinctive characteristics, such as maturation period, origin or flavor notes.

Some of the most popular varieties used in Spain are:

Arbequina: The most representative olives of Catalonia, produces fruity oils, between green and yellow, with aromas of fresh, soft and sweet apple and almond. The plant is of little vigor, with long shoots and a little branched. The leaf is corrugated and wide at the tip, while the fruit is small, oval and almost symmetrical.

Cornicabra: It is dominant in the entire central area (Toledo, Ciudad Real and Madrid). Its oils are between greenish yellow and gold. Fresh aromas and taste between sweet, sour and slightly spicy. The tree is of medium vigor with bunches of medium length, with little sprouting. The leaf is long and lanceolate and the fruit is long, curved, asymmetrical and with horn-shaped belly.

Empeltre: Typical olive in Lower Aragon. It produces oils of colors between straw yellow and old gold. It has fruit aromas, especially of apple, and mild and sweet flavor. The tree is very vigorous with upright branches and wide somewhat warped leaves. The fruit is asymmetrical and elongated.

Hojiblanca: A dominant variety in Malaga and Cordoba, with double application: for oil and for table. It produces oils of rich green color, with aromas of ripe fruit and notes of avocado, presenting a pleasant taste with slight bitter and itching notes. The tree is of medium to strong vigor with a head medium density. The leaf is elongated and partially corrugated, and the fruit is large and oblong.

Picual: The great variety predominant in Jaen. Its oil has a great stability and personality, strength, fruitiness, an intense bitterness and light spicy tones. The tree vigor is good, with vigorous heads and great foliaceous development. The leaf is elongated and the fruit is ellipsoidal.

Picudo: or picuda, also known as the rough olive of Cordova. This variety is widespread in the provinces of Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and Jaen. Its oil is sensitive to oxidation. One can find light flavors and aromas reminiscent of exotic fruit, as well as of apple and almond.

Farga: A variety native to southern Tarragona and northern Castellon, and a part of Teruel province. Its trees are very vigorous, open shape, with straight somewhat pendulous branches. They have leafy heads, where the fruit is sometimes isolated. These fruits are small to medium size and hang from a long stalk. Maturation is early and they are highly resistant to detachment. The oil yield is high (26-28%) with very good quality oils.

Blanqueta: It is grown in Alicante and in the south of Valencia. It produces oils of green leaf hue and fruity aromas with notes of green tomato. The palate develops gently spicy and bitter sensations. The tree is of little vigor with short branches, the leaf is short and lanceolate, and the fruit is somewhat oval and slightly asymmetrical.

Cacereña: Also called a manzanilla cacereña for its dissemination in the province of Caceres. It is a dual-purpose variety and it is much appreciated for food seasoning in both green and black forms, for the quality of its flesh. It is a tree of low vigor, early flowering and maturation. Its leaves are flat and of medium length, and the fruit is spherical in shape, although somewhat asymmetrical.

Verdial de Badajoz: It grows in the plains of the Guadiana. It produces oils with aromas of green olives and nuts (almonds). In the palate it is known for its sweetness. The tree is resistant to drought and is used as a standard. The fruit is large and dual-purpose.

Carrasqueña: A subvariety of manzanilla and is known by this name in the province of Caceres.

Lechín de Sevilla: It is mainly distributed in the provinces of Seville and Cordoba. Its oil is relatively unstable with an average and balanced aroma and a bitter taste. The tree is vigorous with short branches and thick head. The leaf is short and almost flat and the fruit is ellipsoidal and slightly curved over the back.

Manzanilla: It is cultivated in the province of Seville, mainly in the vicinity of the capital. The tree is of little vigor and the head is not dense. The leaves are short and thick, and the fruit is oval. It is mainly used as a seasoning product.

Gordal: Both its origin and cultivation are linked to the province of Seville. The tree is of medium vigor with long, thick branches. The leaf is elongated and very straight, and the fruit is large, heart-shaped and slightly asymmetrical. It is suitable for seasoning.

Variety Maturity index Fatty acids TocophenolsVitamin E Polyphenols Raceme stability K270 K225
C16 C’16 C18 C’18 C’’18 C’’’18 C20
Picual 2.80 11.51 1.24 2.80 78.93 3.87 1.16 0.38 322 790 171.90 0.19 0.31
Hojiblanca 2.98 11.72 0.99 3.05 69.04 12.76 1.68 0.31 463 209 40.90 0.10 0.15
Cornicabra 2.08 13.69 1.74 2.77 75.43 4.32 1.32 0.52 193 809 148.30 0.19 0.47
Lechín 2.64 12.99 1.03 1.77 69.25 12.58 1.40 0.34 191 766 72.40 0.16 0.55
Arbequina 1.84 17.33 2.06 1.58 62.30 14.97 1.14 0.34 237 195 46.10 0.10 0.16
Picudo 2.38 14.67 1.33 1.42 66.60 12.28 1.84 0.28 426 445 45.80 0.16 0.09
Empeltre 3.06 13.23 2.37 1.83 61.97 19.22 1.63 0.33 340 195 29.00 0.06 0.14
Manzanilla 3.33 14.45 1.16 3.38 68.19 9.04 1.38 0.50 287 545 80.00 0.14 0.29

scheme-producing-olive-oil

  • The first mentioning about making olive oil are 6500 years old. Since its discovery, the oil has been widely accepted and so popular that it was called ‘liquid gold’. More than 3000 years ago growing olives started in Spain. Nowadays it is one of the world leaders in oil production, is estimated to be 44% of the world total. Besides, it is the country with the highest consumption of oil and one of largest exporters, staying ahead of Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria.
  • Olive oil is produced mainly in Andalusia, Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura, Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia.
  • It is estimated that there are about 300 million olive trees in Spain
  • In Spain there are a several millennial olive trees that still bear fruit.
  • In Spain there are about 260 varieties of olives, but only about 20 of them are cultivated on a large scale, and only about 7 of them are most popular.
  • a 75% of the olive oil production in Spain is concentrated in the south, mostly in Andalusia
  • To prepare 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil, 5-6 kg of olives are required. The only difference between green and black olives is their state of maturity.
  • In the Bible, the olive tree is identified as a symbol of regeneration of life. After the flood, a sign of life was an olive branch brought by a dove.
  • According to a Christian legend, the cross on which Jesus was crucified was made of olive wood.
  • Bitterness and burning aftertaste in extra virgin olive oil are positive characteristics of the oil and in no event constitute a defect, as some people think.
  • Starting from the first Olympics, the winners were crowned with olive branches cut from the sacred olive tree located next to the temple of Zeus.
  • The denomination of ‘lampante’ (suitable for lamps) refers to oils which were unfit for consumption and were used in oil lamps.
  • When food coated in thick batter is fried, is not really frying, but a cooking, as the fat does not penetrate the food and remains in the layer covering it.
  • Frying in olive oil is less aggressive for the thermolabile components of food compared to stir frying or stewing. For example, the amount of vitamin C which is lost in the process of frying in oil is much lower than in the one lost during stir fry or stew.
  • The number of fries that sustains sunflower oil is between ten and fifteen, while olive oil sustains twenty to thirty fries.
  • Contrary to what many people believe, the color and flavor of the oil hardly depends on the acidity of the same.
  • Extra virgin olive oil contains vitamin A, a good protector of eyesight.
  • Already in the 5th century, Hippocrates advised olive oil for muscle aches and also in case of ulcer or cholera.