A Word on Olive Varieties
There are dozens of olive varieties in Greece, and by and large oil olives are different varieties than the ones cultivated to be cured as table olives. Oil olives tend to be smaller. Generally, they are harvested from the end of October, in some places through February, depending on the part of the country. The ancient Greeks considered the olive oil from unripe olives to be superior, and so do their modern heirs. We have a special name for this early harvest olive oil -agoureleo- or "unripe" oil. It is delicious and peppery and is usually the color of emeralds.
There is a wide range of taste in olive oil, and the final taste of oil is the result of many different factors, from soil and microclimate to the way in which the fruit was harvested. Because of Greece's mountainous terrain, many groves are simply carved out of the steps of mountains -akin to the way rice is grown in some parts of China. That makes for difficulty in harvesting. Machinery can't move easily over such ground. Most groves are small family owned plots of land, which means that there is an immediate connection between the farmer and his crop, and by extensions, a great amount of personal care taken to ensure the highest quality fruit. Most olives are hand picked. It is not by accident that up to 90% of Greek olive oil is extra virgin.
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Greek Olive Oil Soap
Natural Greek Olive Oil Soap is known to moisturize and soften your skin without exposing it to the chemical additives typically present in regular soap. Produced in Greece for centuries, it is recommended for sensitive skin.
Olive Oil in Greek Folk Culture
In Greek popular culture, olive oil is no less significant. For one, so deeply rooted is olive oil in the Greek psyche, which we don't even bother qualifying it -Greeks use the generic "oil" to refer to olive oil, the way some Asian cultures use the word for rice to refer generically to food.
Olive Oil in Greek Orthodoxy
Olive oil is used symbolically in the rituals of the Greek Orthodox Church. For example, when babies are baptised they are anointed with olive oil
The Olive Tree in Antiquity
The olive remained a staple in Greece throughout antiquity, and many images of the olive harvest are depicted in the art of Classical antiquity. Olive oil had many uses in antiquity.
The earliest evidence of the Olive Tree
As far back as the Minoan civilization, which flourished in Crete and in the Aegean some 5,000 years ago, when the earliest written languages came into existence, there were already symbols for the olive tree, for olives and for olive oil.
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