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Turkey’s olive oil, a Mediterranean treasure…

Treasured since ancient times for their excellent nutritional quality, olives and olive oil have always been essential component of the diet in many Mediterranean civilizations.

Being a very important ingredient enhancing flavor and texture for the meals Turkish olive oil is recommended to the household kitchens of the world. Olive oil, besides its delicious taste, is highly recommended by doctors for people suffering from high cholesterol. Production and export quantities are strictly dependent on the olive production as the olive production, which may change from year to year.

As a versatile ingredient, olive oil has been used not only as a flavor enhancer in various dishes, but also as a medicine for healing wounds, as fuel for lamps and as cosmetics for the hair and skin in different cultures.

Considered sacred, it has been the symbol of peace and richness connecting three continents in one soul. Although the olive tree is native to the eastern Mediterranean basin, it gradually spread westwards beyond Turkey into Europe due to its increased importance as a source of edible oil. Having the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey has been one of the major producers of olives among Mediterranean countries.

Thus, olive oil traditions and dishes have been the pride of Turkish cuisine since the time of the Ottomans. Likewise, table olives have been a staple at every Turkish breakfast, generally beside a slice of bread and traditional white cheese. Today, Turkey supplies the olives and olive oil of Mediterranean cuisine all over the world. Healthy and nutritional…

Olives and olive oil are appreciated not only for their nutritional quality but also for their health benefits. Among edible oils, olive oil is the only one that can be produced by physical methods from a fresh fruit and can be consumed immediately after pressing the olive, like fruit juice. Likewise, a complex process, other than treatment with either dry salt or brine, is not required to produce table olives. Namely, olive oil and table olives are pure, natural, healthy products that require minimal processing.

Today, olive oil is increasingly present on the food scene as the healthiest alternative to other edible oils. Some studies indicate that olive oil helps to reduce the levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), known as “bad cholesterol”, due to its higher percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids content (oleic acid: 61-83%) than any other type of edible oil. Although cholesterol is necessary for many bodily functions, excess LDL levels cause deposits of cholesterol in the tissue cells of the body leading to clogged arteries, restricted blood flow, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.

Researches also suggest that monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil help to either increase or maintain the levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins), known as “good cholesterol”, that carry excess cholesterol to the liver to be eliminated from the body. This is in contrast to other edible oils that contain high percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acids because they also reduce good cholesterol while lowering total and bad cholesterol. Therefore, it is thought that olive oil improves the functioning of the circulatory and cardiovascular system by reducing the levels of LDL and maintaining the levels of HDL and guards against arterial blockage.

Olive oil is rich in natural anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, which help to eliminate free radicals from the body. Some studies confirm the excellent effects of olive oil on bone growth, brain development and digestion. It helps to reduce the incidence of breast cancer and cell aging. It has been proved that olive oil activates bile secretion and stimulates pancreatic lipase. In addition, its emollient effect protects against ulcers, and reduces the risk of gallstones. It improves triglyceride activity and increases the rate of fat absorption. In addition to providing nutrients to the skin, this divine elixir protects and softens the face and body, maintaining a young, healthy and beautiful appearance.

PRODUCTION

Olives grow best in warm temperatures, and cannot tolerate extreme climatic conditions. The Mediterranean region, owing to its mild climate, contains 98% of the olive harvest and 95% of the olive oil production in the world. Harvesting and processing of olives are carried out between November and March. About 70% of the olives produced in Turkey are pressed for oil and the rest are reserved for table olives.

EXPORTS

Being a net exporter of olive oil, Turkey supplies the variety of olive oil to a wide range of countries including major producer countries that either consume or re-export Turkish olive oil. Turkish olive oil is demanded from every part of the world and there are more than hundred countries that have experienced the excellent taste and fragrance of Turkish olive oil such as the EU, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Australia, South African Republic, and the Russian Federation. Although organic production still occupies a small proportion of the total area and output of olives, Turkey’s organic olive and olive oil exports are also rising in parallel with the healthier consumption trends in the world.

 

 

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