Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I work at providing the very best Turkish Olive Oil at very competitive prices. The product range we supply is produced in the Aegean region of Anatolia, which is well respected, and is in high demand all around the world. Turkey (The Anatolia) is actually the homeland of olive trees. Most of our olives come from trees that have borne fruit for 500 years or more!
For years, Aegean Olive Oil has been in the homes of those who have chosen healthy and delicious eating habits from all four corners of the world. Our #extra virgin olive oil has a fruity, zesty, light flavour that is especially suited for the global market. The product portfolio I supply is in demand in the USA, Australia, Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
How is olive oil usually made?
Olive oil can actually be defined as a fruit juice because it’s the only oil that can be freshly consumed right after the pressing of the fruit – all others are made from seed oil.
Olive trees have been around since 30.000-40.000 BC and archaeological evidence tells us that the earliest cultivated olive trees were in Southeastern Anatolia, in upper Mesopotamia. Olives then spread to Europe, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa and all areas of the Mediterranean basin and even America.
What are the different methods of production?
There have not been many changes in olive oil production in principle since antiquity, but the technology has modernized, the volume has increased, and the hygiene has improved significantly. The hydraulic press systems that were used in the past are rarely used nowadays – only by individuals or companies that want to carry out traditional production. However, it is almost impossible to produce good quality olive oil with this method, as its results are weaker, softer, and certain flavours and aroma ‘faults’ (similar to vinegar or wine) can form due to the procedures.
What are the main olive oil-producing regions in Turkey?
In Turkey, the motherland of olive trees, olive groves that produce the world’s most aromatic scents are cultivated in many regions from Ezine to Kilis. The Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean regions, as well as Southeastern Anatolia, are the densest producing regions. The taste and beauty of olive oils are influenced by the quality of the soil, the weather, cultivation conditions, the olive pressing technology, the harvest, the type of harvest, and the storage conditions. All these factors play a part in creating the rich aromatic qualities of Turkish olive oils.
IS IT OK TO COOK WITH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?
One of the main things to consider when evaluating whether it is OK to heat extra-virgin #olive oil (or any other oil for that matter) is the smoke point of the oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which visible gaseous vapour from the heating of oil becomes evident. It is traditionally used as a marker for when the decomposition of oil begins to take place. Since decomposition incurs chemical changes that may not only result in reduced flavour and nutritional value but also the generation of harmful cancer-causing compounds (oxygen radicals) that are harmful to your health, it is important to not heat an oil past its smoke point. Inhaling the vapours can also be damaging.
What is the smoke point?
The smoke point is a natural property of unrefined oils, reflecting their chemical composition. When the oil is refined, the process increases the oil’s smoke point; in fact, raising the smoke point is one of the reasons why the refining process is used. To get a better idea of how refining increases the smoke point of the oil, look at Table 1 that shows several examples.
Has it changed much throughout history?
The making of olive oil has not changed in principle since these early times. Olives are made up of approximately 40% solid matter, 40% fruit juice, and 20% oil. They are first crushed into a mash, then the oil is extracted from the mash and the fruit juice by various procedures. In Turkey, the most up-to-date techniques are being used in olive oil production: the olives, picked from branches or the ground, are cleansed, and the oil is extracted by centrifuge in the olive pressing facilities, without chemical or thermic procedures.
Olive oil was extracted through a similar process in Anatolia’s antique mills. For example, the antique remains in the ancient Greek city of Klazomenai, Urla that has recently been renovated (for the original), is believed to be the first merchant olive mill and dates back 2500 years.
BENEFITS OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The quality of olive oil production—especially the stage of pressing—really does make a difference when it comes to health benefits. Recent studies have compared the anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) obtained from the first pressing of the oil to the anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oils (non-EVOO) obtained from later pressings. What researchers found was an ability of EVOO to lower inflammatory markers in the blood when non-EVOOs were unable to do so. (Study measurements included blood levels of thromboxane A2, or TXA2, and leukotriene B2, or LBT2.) This ability of extra virgin olive oil to help protect against unwanted inflammation is not surprising, since EVOO is known to contain stronger concentrations of phytonutrients (especially polyphenols) that have well-known anti-inflammatory properties
Mediterranean Diet studies have long associated olive oil intake with decreased risk of heart disease. However, a recent group of studies has provided us with a fascinating explanation of olive oil’s cardioprotective effect. One of the key polyphenols in olive oil—hydroxytyrosol (HT)—helps protect the cells that line our blood vessels from being damaged by overly reactive oxygen molecules. HT helps protect the blood vessel cells by triggering changes at a genetic level. The genetic changes triggered by HT help the blood vessel cells to enhance their antioxidant defence system. In other words, olive oil supports our blood vessels not only by providing antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene. Olive oil also provides our blood vessels with unique molecules like HT that actually work at a genetic level to help the cellular walls of the blood vessels remain strong.
Omega-9 Fatty Acids’
Olive oil has long been recognized for its unusual fat content. This plant oil is one of the few widely used culinary oils that contains about 75% of its fat in the form of oleic acid (a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid). In terms of monounsaturated fat, the closest common culinary oil to olive is canola oil, with about 60% of its fat coming in monounsaturated form. By contrast, the fat in soybean oil in only 50-55% monounsaturated; in corn oil, it’s about 60%; in sunflower oil, about 20%; and in safflower oil, only 15%. When diets low in monounsaturated fat are altered to increase the monounsaturated fat content (by replacing other oils with olive oil), research study participants tend to experience a significant decrease in their total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and LDL: HDL ratio. Recent research studies have taken these heart-healthy effects of olive oil one step further. Olive oil’s monounsaturated fat content (specifically, its high level of oleic acid) has now been determined to be a mechanism linking olive oil intake to decreased blood pressure. Researchers believe that the plentiful amount of oleic acid in olive oil gets absorbed into the body, finds its way into cell membranes, changes signalling patterns at a cell membrane level (specifically, altering G-protein associated cascades) and thereby lowers blood pressure. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the monounsaturated fat content of olive oil has been linked not only to cholesterol reduction but also to the reduction of blood pressure.
Cancer prevention has been one of the most active areas of olive oil research, and the jury is no longer out on the health benefits of olive oil for cancer. Twenty-five studies on olive oil intake and cancer risk—including most of the large-scale human studies conducted up through the year 2010—have recently been analyzed by a team of researchers at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research Institute in Milan, Italy.
Firmly established by this research team were the risk-reducing effects of olive oil intake for cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract and, to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers). These anti-cancer benefits of olive oil became most evident when the diets of routine olive oil users were compared with the diets of individuals who seldom used olive oil and instead consumed diets high in saturated added fat, especially butter.