With the health benefits of olive oil on everyone’s lips and the movement toward more flavorful tastes, it is obvious that the the time is right for this 8,000 year old tradition to become an irresistible, world wide force.
Olive oil is the gold standard of all oils. Loaded with antioxidants, it is chock full of monounsaturated fat–which is one of the healthier fats that everyone needs in his or her diet. The Mediterranean Diet is considered the healthiest diet. The cornerstone and foundation of the Mediterranean Diet is extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil is produced throughout the United States led by California (where 99% of olives are grown). Olive trees are also grown in Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Oregon, and Hawaii (on the island of Maui).
History of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ever since the US’s first “foodie” President Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “… the olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven” and deemed olive oil a “necessity of life” (along with wine and books), olive oil was destined to have its own National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day!
Olive Oil, itself, has a history that goes back as far as 6000 years, or perhaps even more, when the olive tree was cultivated and spread from Asia Minor to the Mediterranean regions it is now famous for. Over the centuries, olive has not only been used in food preparations, but also for cultural, religious and even beauty purposes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the highest quality of the olive oils, extracted through grinding and pressing the olives, without the use of heat or chemicals in the extraction process. This makes EVOO particularly pure and also very good for the health. It tends to be darker in color than regular olive oils, with a dark yellow or green tinge that make some people refer to it as “liquid gold”. This oil has a distinctive flavor that some people think offers a bit of a spicy kick to it.
Since the Mediterranean Diet has come into the spotlight, many people are looking to Extra Virgin Olive Oil to provide them with an extra boost for the taste of their food as well as for their physical health.
Yes, EVOO is a bit pricier than the cost of regular olive oil, but the difference is completely worth it. It’s time to celebrate this marvelous day!
How to Celebrate National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day
Celebrating Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be not only a learning experience and a boost to your health, but it can also just be a lot of fun! Use these tips for celebrating or come up with some new ones:
Begin Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For those who have been using other types of oils, or just regular (not EVOO) olive oil, this is the perfect day to experiment by using this extraordinary oil in a variety of new recipes. And although it is traditionally thought to be used for cooking, don’t forget that it can be used for baking, drizzling over salads, as a dip for bread, or in a myriad of other ways.
Create An Olive Oil Experience or Adventure
Visit an olive orchard and olive mill where it’s possible to see the olives-to-olive oil process first hand. Olives are grown all over the world! Although many people think they might have to take a trip to Italy or Greece for this, they don’t! In the United States olives are grown in California, Oregon, Texas, Florida and a few other warm climate states. Other places include Peru, South Africa, Chile, Australia and even New Zealand.
Schedule a time to visit one of these lovely olive-producing farms to witness up close exactly how the olives grow in the orchards and what happens when they are pressed from the fruit into the oil. While there, be sure to pick up a bottle or two to take home!
Go Olive Oil Tasting at a Specialty Store
Just like wine tasting, there is such a thing as Olive Oil tasting! This is a great cultural and educational experience, as well as a delightful treat for the taste buds. Of course, many versions will be on offer. The hardest thing will be to choose which one(s) to purchase and take home.
Share Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fun on Social Media
Take photos of olive oil experiences and your favorite way to Drizzle it on . . . your favorite foods or your favorite ways to use olive oil for health, beauty, and around the house and post the photos on social media.