History of of the Olive oil from Spain
2000 Years ago the olive oil was brought by the Phoenicians and the Greek to Spain. A few centuries later when the Romans invadaded Spain they cultivated even more olive trees, since the land of Spain gave better olive oil than the one in Italy, and was directly exported to the Roman Empire. A few centuries later, the Arabs, who also had their olive trees in Morocco, also exported the golden liquid from Spain to Morocco, because of its better quality.
Now Spain is the biggest exporter of olive oil in the world, much bigger than Italy, making 44% of the world´s olive oil.
Oleotourism – Olive oil tourism
Even though Jaen province is the biggest producer. Cordoba province has the highest quality of olive oil. Especially the olive oil produced in Baena is of outstanding quality. The acidity of extra virgin olive oils is below 1%.
37,000 hectares area is dedicated to olive trees in Baena,Cordoba. The oil is extracted with the same care as it is harvested to retain its aroma and flavor. The oil from Baena has a green to yellow colour, having floral and fruity aroma with a touch of taste of almonds.
There are several olive oil mills you can visit, these are called almazaras-
There are several olive oil mill you can visit. In each place an expert will show us the oil extraction and production process from harvesting of the olives to the processes that are carried to extract olive oil.
Olive trees in Spain
There are about 300 million olive trees in Spain, and can reach an age of up to 1500 years. Most of the olive trees you will see are “only a few hundred years old”! The olives are harvested between November and March during the winter depending on the area, weather and the variety of olive that it has to offer. The traditional way of harvesting is by putting nets under the trees and they take the olives from by hitting the branches with sticks.
They are then transferred to oil mills where they are squeezed to extract olive oil. As soon this is done the oil is analyzed, graded and packed to be sent to the market.
Buying olive oil
While in Spain you have plenty of opportunities to buy olive oil around Spain. We recommend you to buy it from the producers directly. It is all in your hands after selecting the taste which one you like. Here are some guidelines where to look for.
Make sure that you get at least a Extra Virgin olive oil, since this comes from the first press of the olives. Later the pulp y send to a different press where you get the olive oil of frying.
Tips of how to use it in the kitchen
There is a lot of how to use olives because of the tremendous health benefits and culinary uses of olives and olive oil. In Spain, olive oil is considered to be the integral ingredient of every cuisine. No Spanish kitchen can exist without a green tall bottle of olive oil. It is used excessively to dress the salad bars, adding flavor to lunchtime or cooking at dinner time.
There are 200 plus varieties of olive oil in Spain each with a distinct flavor. A recent study suggested that frying vegetables in olive oil is healthier compared to boiling the vegetables. Olive oil cooking is not encouraged with every type of it because it has a relatively low smoke level meaning it will give off the flavors if super-high heat cooking is done. This even contributes to the fact that it is not a good idea to deep fry food in olive oil. For deep frying, you can better use sunflower oil.
There are several ways that you can consume olive oil like drizzling in the salad, using to marinate the chicken, drizzle over cooked pasta or vegetables, for making dips and sauces too.