olives

I learned a lot today. If you want to start an olive grove, you need an existing plant. The most successful way to grow a new tree is to plant a branch cut from an old tree. In 2 to 3 months new roots should have grown and in 5 short years it will start producing olives. There are 2000 varieties of olives in the world and 260 grow in Spain. As an olive ripens, it changes color from green to red to purple to black. Olives can be eaten at any stage, but only black are harvested for oil. This happens from November to February. To make oil the olives are ground into a paste and the paste it pressed to squeeze out the oil. This is called cold press. Most olive oil is extracted this way. In order to be considered extra virgin it has to have an acidity level of less than .8% with no defects. Anything from .8-2% acidity with minimal defects is considered virgin. Anything above 2% acidity is refined with chemicals. It is sold but not as good quality. I got the chance after the lesson to taste test oils. You actually sip the oil and move it around your mouth. I tried some really good oils and can’t wait to bring some home and start cooking.

“You plant an olive tree for your children and a grape vine for your grandchildren” (tall trees are olive, short are grape)

 

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