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 has been used in soap making for thousands of years. Olive oil, like all fats and oils, is transformed into soap by adding lye (soda ash is very similar to lye). Over the centuries, the process of making soap from olive oil was improved, different oils were mixed with olive oil, and additives – from algae to minerals – were utilised.
Though soap made from olive oil was known as Marseilles soap, for the better part of two centuries a large section of the olive oil soap industry depended on olive oil from Crete.
At the same time, soap making became an important industry in Crete, Mytilene and Volos in the 18th and 19th centuries, with major exports of soap from these regions of Greece.
There were 45 soap factories in Crete, using 2,200,000 okes (a unit measuring 1280 gr) of olive oil per year. Large ships of 150-170 tons were built in Sfakia to transport soap to Constantinople, Salonica, Smyrna and Syria.
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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.
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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