The origin of olive oil
Olive oil is one of the vegetable oils that has a very ancient history. Indeed it was the first tree cited in religious books*
It is mentioned in the Bible with well-known episodes such as the dove that brings to Noah an olive branch, the Christ who withdraws to the Mount of Olives. In the Qur'an, the olive tree is quoted seven times and is described as a tree of peace.
Olive oil is so famous that we owe it the etymology of oils. Indeed, the term «Olea» in Latin, designating oil in general, derives its origin from the word «olive» (the fruit).
As for the geographical roots of the olive tree, botanists are not unanimous. The olive tree is very present today on the Mediterranean coast. Some believe that it is originally from Asia and that he passed through Egypt to reach this final destination. Since then, the olive has been successfully introduced in regions with the same type of climate: South California, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and even Japan.
Olive oil production expanded significantly during the 1990s and began to stabilize in the early 2000s. The world production of olive oil is estimated at 3.2 million tons according to the figures published by the European Commission during the year 2019.
Climatic conditions and the two-annuity of the harvest strongly influence the world production of olive oil. Italy and Spain together account for 2/3 of world olive oil production, which also affects harvests. Especially Firenze, where Panzani has its origins…
Method for producing
The olives begin to turn black at the end of October. Picking then begins in early November, just after the first gels. This harvest is done either by hand in a traditional way or mechanically, it depends on the size of the farm, whether it is family or industrial.
STEP 1: removing and cleaning olives
The olives, are taken to the mill where the first step begins: stripping and cleaning. The olives pass under jets of water to rid them of the dust. Then they are passed in hoods that suck the leaves and hoppers that hold them. Stripping helps preserve the aroma of the fruit.
STEP 2: grinding of olives (including cores)
Once cleaned, the olives pass into the grinder, with the cores. It is important to preserve the nuclei because in them, there is an acid that allows a better preservation of the oil. If the production is traditional, a grinding mill is used. This action results in olive paste.
STEP 3: settling
Once mixed, the olive paste is poured into a decanter.
The Objective? Separate the liquid from the solid. Only the liquid, composed of water of vegetation that makes up the flesh of the olive and the olive oil, is recovered. The remaining dry paste, the grignons, serves as compost.
A final cleaning is done by passing the oil water mixture through the vibrating sieve. The whole is placed in a cylindrical tank.
STEP 4: extraction
The time comes for the centrifuge to be extracted. The centrifuge separates the oil from the water and the organic matter still present. The olive oil is ready to be consumed. It does not take less than 5 kg of olive to obtain 1 liter of oil.
It is good to know that olive oil is designed as a natural product. It is the only vegetable oil that holds it because it is composed of no additive or preservative. Thus, we are talking about a real 100% fruit juice.
Nutritional composition and health benefits
The star of Mediterranean cuisine since the dawn of time, olive oil is recognized by nutritionists for its qualities. At Panzani, we love it for its unique scent and its intense flavor which smell like sunshine!
Olive oil is a pure Italian Gold Quality product!
The composition of vegetable oil is strongly influenced by production conditions. To ensure its quality, it is recommended to select an extra virgin oil, obtained by cold pressing, ideally of organic origin.
Many searchers have demonstrated the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects of this oil.
Basis of Mediterranean culinary culture, olive oil is rich in vitamins A, D and, above all, E. It is renowned for its antioxidant and cell protecting qualities. It has a high amount of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3. In other words, the "good fats" which encourage the reduction of cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular diseases... A real little gem to enjoy while eating healthily!
Good to know
Good quality olive oil gives off typical fruity aromas and scents pasta dishes and vegetables like nothing else. It can be used cold or hot, as, contrary to popular wisdom, it can deal with high temperatures very well.
At Panzani, we use mainly olive oil when necessary to make our sauces.
When selecting it, read the label carefully and go for a "first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil". The indicated origin describes where the oil was bottled and not the place where the olives were grown.
Please note: Keep your oil away from sunlight, which can oxidize it and give it a rancid taste. This is why olive oil is often packaged in opaque bottles... and so good for your health!
In order to ensure a good supply of quality fatty acids, it is recommended to replace the butter with olive oil, especially for cooking. For seasoning, you can mix at the same dose: olive oil and rapeseed oil.
What to do with Olive Oil
As you know, olive oil is one of the basis of Mediterranean cuisine. Especially in the Italian food culture, it is used in almost all the dishes, from cooking oil, to salad sauce, being also used in dips for the famous Italian bruschettas for example.
Indeed, olive oil is a pure ingredient, and many Italian recipes use it for more than a half of their composition!
You can find for example the recipe of the famous Pesto Spaghetti, where olive oil is a vital ingredient.
And, if you don’t have the time to make your own pesto, here is the Panzani, ready to use sauce
At Panzani, we want to conserve this will to use the olive oil as one of a basis ingredient to enhance our Italian way of being, and here are a few tips to know if you want to applicate these Italian manners!
Tip 1: Never put the olive oil in the boiling water of the pasta, but once they are cooked, you can put a drizzle of olive oil into the pasta, it will give it a fresh taste without having a bad impact on the cooking.
Discover our article on how to cook pasta optimally!
Tip 2: You can use olive oil to make sauces, such as dressing for summer salads or hot sauces, mixed with tomatoes and basil to mix with pasta.
Tip 3 : In addition to salads, Italians are keen on aperitifs, “primo piato”. And for that, of course, they use olive oil!
Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella or burrata, a drizzle of olive oil, a little seasoning and herbs and you’re done!
This small tomato-mozzarella salad can be accompanied by slices of toast sprinkled with olive oil, tapenade, olive puree… Here come the bruschettas!
Olive oil is used everywhere in Italian cuisine! It is a must-have in your storage if you want to make a meal “Italian style”.
In addition of cooking, you can also make other uses thanks to the many benefits of olive oil...
Benefits in skin application
Olive oil has many cosmetic benefits, other than nutritional benefits. In particular, in skin application: unction, massage, local application, bath (mixed with a shower gel or liquid soap).
Olive oil is thus antioxidant, nourishing and regenerating among other benefits.
It can be used to fight or help treat many dermatological ailments, or for hair or nail care such as acne, mild burn, mild scar, drying (hands, body, hair, nails)…
Olive oil is also known to be able to make many recipes to improve little body words of the everyday life, here are some tips.
Dish Cleaning Formula
• Pour a few drops of oil over an abrasive sponge to scrub your casserole.
• Finish with dishwashing liquid and rinse.
Remedy for sore throat
To soften the irritated throat, mix two tablespoons of oil with two more of honey and lemon juice. Heat the preparation, rinse your mouth with it and then swallow it.
Formula for facial makeup remover and to clean baby’s buttocks
Mix in a 200ml container:
• 100ml lime water (may be available in pharmacy)
• 100ml olive oil
• Shake for 1 min.
Please keep this mixture in a dry place, away from heat and light. You can storage it for at least 6 months.