Olive oil is used throughout the world for cooking and flavoring meals, cosmetics, soaps and as oil in lamps. It comes in a variety of styles with the most common being virgin, extra virgin and pure olive oil. It is a highly versatile oil that is made from pressing the oil from olives. Olive oil comes mostly from the Mediterranean basin, where large crops of olive trees are grown for the purpose of producing god quality olive oil.
The Highest producer of Olive Oil
Despite the popular belief that Italy is the largest producer of olive oil, Spain actually produces more than Italy does. Spain is therefore the country which produces the most olive oil. Spain produces approximately 40% of the world olive oil. Italy is Spain’s largest buyer of olive oil, buying 60% of the oil they make. This is then blended with Italian olive oil and sold under an Italian label. Many people are now seeking to buy Spanish olive oil and it is developing a good market of its own. Spain has a good climate for growing olives as it has warm summers and mild winters.
Five Fun Facts about Olive Oil
- Tuscany-styled olive oil is the most sought for its green color and pungent smell
- Olive oil loses flavor as it ages so you are best not to keep it too long
- Olive oil is technically a fruit juice rather than oil. The olives are pressed to release their juices just like an orange or a lemon be pressed.
- In Ancient Greece, women applied olive oil to their skin and hair after bathing as protection from the elements and to maintain a pleasant fragrance
- Christopher Columbus introduced olive oil to the Americas in 1492. Olive oil was unavailable in the United States until Italian and Greek immigrants began importing it from their home countries.