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Olive Oil

Olive tree
Olive tree

The small Olea europaea evergreen tree produces the olive fruit with a single pit or seed. Although traditionally the olive tree grew abundantly in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor regions, today it is cultivated around the globe including Chili, Peru, Australia and Syria.

The seed is cold pressed to produce “extra virgin olive oil.” Because there is no heat or solvent used in this process, there are no changes to the properties of the oil. The oil is called “unrefined”, and it maintains its deep color and olive scent. The remaining pulp material can be pressed again, and sometimes extracted with a solvent, to get a second source of oil traditionally called “olive oil pomace”. This is called “refined”, and it usually has paler color and has a less olive scent. Both oils can be used in cooking and personal care products. The fatty acid content of extra virgin olive oil is approximately 13-17% C16:0, 57-70% C18:1, 10-19% C18:2, 0.3-2% C16:1 and 0.6-1% C18:3. The values vary based on the olive variety, as with any oil or butter. (See reference: El Raichy, et al., 2019)


El Riachy, M., Hamade, A., Ayoub, R., Dandachi, F., & Chalak, L. (2019). Oil Content, Fatty Acid and Phenolic Profiles of Some Olive Varieties Growing in Lebanon. Frontiers in nutrition, 6, 94.