Turkish Olive Oil
Olive and olive oil has an essential place in the lives of Turkish people, especially in Mediterranean and Aegean regions. Since the olive trees are mostly found in these two regions, the cuisines are shaped around olive oil. However, olive trees not only shape cooking, but they also have an essential place in Turkish culture and economy.
Olive and olive oil culture includes the growth of the olive trees, selling them on the markets, extraction of olive oil and usage of olive oil in cosmetics and Turkish dishes. The practices which formed the traditions have been performed for many years.
Wild olive trees are special breeds for East Mediterranean. It is not known when they were placed in our culture. However, it is possible that the first place they were planted was somewhere from East Mediterranean to Mesopotamia. Olive is regarded as the source of health and beauty since it's discovery of ancient times.
Olive picking is generally made by the cooperation of the villagers. Once they are done with the picking, a feast is prepared and eaten together for a day's hard work. This ceremony is a kind of celebration, and everyone who participated in the picking and their families is invited.
After the collection, the olives used to be crushed by people using heavy objects or by using grinders. Nowadays, machines are also used for this process. Some olive types are crushed, and olive oil is extracted, while some others are spared for eating as they are. Many types of olives can be served in many ways.
The olives are eaten for breakfast, and the olive oil is used in meals. The meals made with olive oil are so important and widespread that, in Turkish cuisine, they are called olive oil dishes (zeytinyaglılar). The olive oil which cannot be used in meals is used for cosmetic purposes. Olive oil is especially important for skin and hair care products.
The olive and olive oil has many more usages. Moreover, the olive tree is a very durable kind, and its wood is used for making pots and pans. The seeds of the olive are used for making necklaces and tesbihs. The residue is used for fertilizer and fuel. All parts of the tree are precious, and this makes them essential for the people.
We can easily say that olives have an undeniable part in people’s lives. Therefore, people base their lives around olive trees.