From a Bitter Fruit to Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – short: EVOO – is the healthiest fat known for thousands of years. Now in October and November are the months that you can see everywhere in Italy the green nets under olive trees and people harvesting. It’s a busy time in the country-side which results in delicious, green and thick olive oil.

In late autumn when the leaves start to colorize nature with red and gold it’s the time for olives. The harvesting-time can go as long as all November, it depends by the weather. But this is the period that you can see everywhere huge nets under trees and people handling strange sticks in the trees, others collecting the fallen olives. It’s a hard work with a very happy end.

For this year was the first time to harvest olives and to get my own olive oil. The place I stay has a couple of olive groves and last week we started harvesting. Only two people, the owner of the land and me. We started in the morning just after sunrise and stopped only when the sun was already nearly gone. Around 200 kg we brought every day to the olive mill.

The olive mill works only six to eight weeks, and, especially in the beginning, can be very busy. They work day and night, continuously to get the oil out of the olives as soon as possible. The longer they wait the more bitterness will be in the olive oil, the faster the sweeter, milder.

In the mill the olives are collected in bins, huge plastic containers. Before they can be worked they have to be cleaned from leaves and branches, they will be washed with clear water. Then they get crushed in a huge stone mill until the olives become a kind of paste. This nearly creamy olive paste is transferred now on round disks. These disks become piled up until the paste is finished. This olive paste column goes into a pressing machine where it stays for a few hours, until nothing comes out anymore.

The liquid is not only oil but also a lot of water. In another machine these two are separated and the clean, unfiltered olive oil comes out. It is olive green (though the collected olives are black when they are ripe) and very dense, thick. The smell is divine! You just want to put a slice of bread under the fresh oil and eat it right away!

It depends by the year, per 100 kg olives you get between 12 and 18 liters of olive oil.

About olive oil and the health properties you can read here.

We harvested until now only a part of the olives. Not all are ripe in the same moment, it depends by the kind of olive and of course the position where the trees grow, how much sun they get and much more. We still have to harvest I would say the same amount. We harvested 780 kg, 110 liters of healthy organic olive oil.

There are also some olive trees for eating. I am preparing some olives in brine. I will bring the recipe out when they are ready, so stay tuned!










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Healthy and Delicious – Organic Olive Oil

Eat more fat! Maybe the most healthy fat you can eat is also the maybe most delicious one. Freshly pressed olive oil is full of vitamins and minerals and has a very rich taste.

In Italy we use to eat olive oil drizzled on a slice of rustic homemade bread, maybe with a hint of salt. Italians and most of the Mediterranean people are famous for eating mainly olive oil. Not because it is for their health but because they produce it, it has a great taste and it is versatile. Today we know it is one of the healthiest fats that exist.

I got some olive oil from a friend who has her own olive grove. Olive oil where the olives were collected in the morning and pressed and filled bottles or containers in the evening. When I opened it the next day it was grass green, unfiltered and thick. I tried a teaspoon and is was simply delicious. My friend said it would be a little sharp, bitter, but not for me. Maybe because I never eat sugar and my perception of taste is different. I tried it on homemade bread and just couldn’t stop.

Olive oil has to be first of all completely organic, no sprays, no chemicals at all. Collected in the right moment and as soon as possible be pressed, at least the very same day. Filled in dark bottles or containers. The oil is very green, all but clear, murky. Soon you will see an organic layer on the bottom. I just shake the bottle a little to get it re-mixed and then on my food. That is pure health!

EVOO is the healthiest one, it still has all the benefits of what nature offers us. Especially the plant nutrients or more scientific phytochemicals that protect you from cancer and heart diseases. Stroke protection and anti-inflammation thanks to the oleic acid. Looking for a good anti-aging food? Here it is: olive oil is packed with antioxidants. It’s also a good fighter against bacteria. In addition it helps you to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It has also vitamins to give: vitamin E as antioxidant and vitamin K for your blood, plus omega 3 and 6. Hey, and olive oil can also improve your mood, it works as an anti-depressive. It’s a good cooking oil as well.

Did you know that olive oil is used also for making soap, was once used for oil lamps and is still used as medicine and in rituals. The healthy and tasty oil was produced already 8.000 years ago and traded during the Egyptian Dynasties. And did you know there is even a recipe for an olive oil cake? I didn’t try it yet, anyone did? Here are some of my recipes that uses olive oil extra virgin: sardelles in olive oil, bell pepper antipasto, eggplants in olive oil, chicken liver in wine and olive oil, asparagus pesto and fennel pesto. And last but not least my quick mayonnaise

There is no oil that is used more than olive oil I guess. You make pizza dough with it, you drizzle it on all kinds of salads, you bake and cook with it, you even can realize cakes and cookies with olive oil. A wonderful and personal gift is infused olive oil. If garlic, chili, lemon, rosemary or basil – prepare your own mix and leave it for a month in the olive oil. If you are in a place where you find truffle, than that is a very precious choice. Did you ever try spaghetti with oil and chili? One of my favorite!

I personally put olive oil nearly on and in everything. Every dish has olive oil, all salads are with olive oil, no soup without olive oil. I use for myself more than a liter per month. I used it many years also as sunscreen and for my hair. It’s always perfect.


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Summer Fruits in a Bottle: Juicing

Juicing means to extract the liquid out of fruits, vegetables or even herbs. There are many ways of juicing: the fresh way is for sure the better choice. I want to talk of fruit extracting as conservation of fruits of your garden.

This year I have a garden, full of goodness. Fruits wherever I look, vegetables and much more. What to do with so much produce? Most of the people prepare jam for the wintertime. I very rarely eat bread , in consequence my need of jam is low. So what to do with ‘tons’ of apricots, plums, loquat, cherries, figs, nuts and so on. Meanwhile the Apricots are a yummy jam right now, the others are now liquids in bottles.

You need a special pot to extract the juices out of fruits and vegetable. I bought a steam extractor. It has three levels: the bottom is filled with water, the middle part will collect the juice and the top has a colander where the washed fruits comes in. No need to remove pits, stones, skin. With the boiling water, the steam comes up (similar to my coffee machine, my Mokka) and sucks out the liquid of the fruits. It takes a couple of ours before it is done, depends by the fruit and the amount you put in the pot.

Normally you should not open the lit as the fruit is under pressure for the juicing, but I do it towards the end and rice the fruits in order to get also some pulp in the juice. It gives more fruit color and is more nutrient.

I fill the boiling hot juice in previously cleaned bottles and close them immediately. If the bottle stays upside-down I turn it for a while. Then put it back and wait for the ‘click’ that shows me it is vacuum sealed. A little label to tell me what is in the bottle and the date filled up, and then out to the storage room.

If you juice fresh juice then you could try a few days of juice fasting. In this case you just drink fresh juices, not extracted ones by a steam cooker. Mix vegetables and fruits. Juice fasting can help to feel better, to loose a little weight, to detox and more. But only drink fresh juice from organic fruits and vegetables.

I always liked fruit juice if fresh and not sweetened. To have my own one is the very best of all. I like the juice just like it is, but also with some corn/quinoa/oat flakes for example. Sometimes there is a cake recipe that required also some juice.

No doubt there is nothing more healthy than eating the whole food. It has not only all vitamins and minerals, it has also fiber which is important for the digestion and the whole process of extracting the right components of the fruits. But in this case it is one of the best ways to conserve the fresh picked fruit from you own fruit trees and shrubs and have at least some of the benefits also during winter time.

What do you think about my assistant?


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The Japanese Medlar – A Typical Italian Summer Fruit

The large ever green shrub or tree of Japanese medlar, or also called loquat, is a very common fruit tree in Italy. Its yellow fruits look like small peaches, the taste is a mixture between apple and pear. It is a very juicy fruit and best fresh from the plant.

You find them in nearly every garden in Italy, or at least in the south. It is a very popular fruit tree here and the Italians are eating the fruit straight from the tree. I never liked them very much, but maybe because the fruit were offered to me only when very ripe. And I don’t like ripe fruits as they are very often too sweet for me.

The loquat is a plant of the rosaceae family. Japanese medlar is a misleading name as it is not part of the genus Mespilus, though in Germany it is called Mispel (japanische Wollmispel). It Italy you will find it under the name nespolo.

The shrub like tree has dark green leaves, very big, long and hard ones. The fruits grow in clusters. They have a few stones, which are a little soft and I think beautiful. The fruit is refreshing and juicy. The skin a little harder and can be eaten or just left.

The plant comes from Asia, China mainly, but today it is home nearly in all over the world. In Europe maybe since the 19th century. The white flowers appear in late autumn/fall into winter, the fruits only half a year later. Vitamin A, B6, potassium and manganese are the main nutrition values.

Like I mentioned above I didn’t like them very much. But I have the habit trying sporadically what I don’t like very much. Sometimes it’s a dish just prepared differently or maybe another status of ripeness that makes the significant difference to me. And when a friend gave me some picked straight from the tree I thought they have a perfect taste: refreshing, lightly sour and very juicy. I ended up to pick them everywhere I could find them and prepare nespole juice.

Chutneys are also very common, like jam or jelly. They are also used as a natural sweetener. One of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Italy is the Nespolino, made with the seeds of the fruits. In Sicily you can find nespole honey.

I decided for myself that I like the fruit. This year I made several bottles of yellow-orange juice I will enjoy this winter. Next year maybe I will also try some jam and chutneys. About juicing I will write a separate article.

Do you know this fruit? Do you have a shrub/tree in your garden and maybe thought it is only ornamental? Try them, they are really a wonderful surprise!


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Green Sauce on Green Thursday

Tomorrow is Maundy or Holy Thursday. In some countries it is called Green Thursday and traditionally you eat something green. I decided for a green sauce made of béchamel and parsley, like my mother did, when I was a child.

Maundy Thursday has many different names, I know it as Green Thursday or Holy Thursday. It is mainly a Christian church holiday. But in Europe Easter is still a main holiday and celebrated like Christmas. I for myself go a little back to the roots when it still was the celebration of the return of the nature with spring.

I don’t want to explain the religious aspect of Easter, but the traditions in the different countries. Here in Europe in the different countries we not only have different names, also a great diversity of traditions. Sweden for example goes back to before the Christians came and children go from house to house to ask for candies or Easter eggs while they are dressed as witches. In the Czech Republic and in Germany people eat something green like green vegetables or a green sauce. No church bells until Holy Saturday. In some countries all businesses are closed. In European countries I know only of Holy Friday everything is closed.

So, well, I decided to have a green smoothie as a morning starter. The green came from some ‘weeds’ out of the garden like lemon mint, strawberry leaves and bishopsweed (appropriate, isn’t it?). I mixed them with a banana, cinnamon and some Cashew milk. Was delicious!

Later for lunch I prepared the green sauce I remember from my childhood. My mother, I think, once a week prepared a sauce based on a simple béchamel and parsley. With it goes a scalded sausage and boiled potatoes. Easier it is not possible. I boiled the sausage and the potatoes and then prepared a béchamel base with just a little good butter, a bit of gluten-free flour and cashew milk. I added some salt and pepper and then the parsley I previously chopped up.

It is a dish I didn’t make for a very long time. The last time I think when my mother was still alive, and she always wanted only meals she knew all her life. Which was a challenge to me because she never taught me her cooking.

For the sauce you can interchange all of it. Use the flour you normally use, every milk is possible as well. Flour if very nutty can alternate the taste like also the milk. Coconut milk maybe is too strong. Choose a more flavorless one. How much milk? Then is something to decide at the moment. When you whisk in the milk, add only a little bit every time and whisk. You see how thick the sauce is and how thick you want it. Make it just that little bit thinner that when you add all the parsley it has the right consistence.

As for the parsley, you can use any kind of soft herbs. The herbs give the taste! There is the well-known Frankfurter Grüne Sauce (Frankfurt’s green sauce) that has 7 herbs (chives, parsley, sorrel, burnet, cress, chervil and borage) and is made more like a mayonnaise. The season for the green sauce in Frankfurt starts on Maundy Thursday and ends with the first frost in autumn/fall.

Guten Appetit!






Green Sauce
Green Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Green Sauce
Green Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a pot melt the butter or ghee. Leave the pot on a very little heat. Whisk in the flour. Be careful that no nubs are forming. Add slowly the milk and whisk heartily, it must be always a very smooth, even sauce. As you add the milk and whisk you can see the consistence and add more milk if you want the sauce thinner. Make it a thin cream, that is perfect.
  2. Take away from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the chopped parsley.
Recipe Notes

You can change the flour to any other. I used a gluten-free flour mix, but you can also use rice flour e.g. Use a very fine one in order to get a smooth béchamel.

Also the milk can be chosen by your preference. Don't take a very tasteful one, though, as you want the taste of parsley only.

Of course you don't need to use parsley. You can change to any other herb. Basil would be great as well. Or whatever you have in your garden growing. Mix different herbs together. Chop them always very finely.

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