Monday, June 20, 2016

Hoping olive oil is as good for the heart as it is for the mouth

I’ve always been a fan of olive oil in the States, sautéing basically any and everything that looks like I could in olive oil for dinner. Though my knowledge of olive oil was pretty limited before coming to Italy, limiting to just about making sure the oil came from Italy and was 100% extra olive oil. My belief is olive oil makes the meal. Even proven here at Santa Chiara, the vegetables cooked in that amazing extra virgin olive oil is enjoyed by literally everyone, it brings such a good flavor to the veggies.

While visiting Orvieto last week, we toured an underground cave area where the Etruscan's lived completely underground but connected to their houses by ladder from up above. We saw the original large stone wheel that they used in the process of making olive oil where a human or donkey would be attached to the stone wheel that would turn on top of another stone and crush the olives to a pulp that allows 20% of the olive juice and 80% of the water to flow out and become paste. Now, the making of olive oil is more high tech and advanced. Olives are ground to a paste and feed through a tooth grinder, hammer mill, then the olive paste is mixed for about 20-40 minutes before the water and oil is separated and the oil is put in a decanter ready to consume. The Juice is then put through a centrifugal separator where the cream is spun and separates the water from the oil.

              Learning about how olive oil is made was fascinating to me and so enlightening being that I had no previous knowledge of the oil that I cook so often with. This course has beautifully forced me to be so much more aware of the plant based foods I out into my body and all the work and care that goes into those items to be harvested for me to consume just perfectly.

-          -HMS

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