MICHIGIAN — Today is National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day!
Lauded throughout history as a gift from the gods, olives and the oil they produce have been an important food for centuries.
First of all— did you know olives are a fruit? Though often lumped in with veggies, the green and black morsels are seed-bearing— making them technically a fruit, much like the tomato!
The Greeks believed the goddess Athena created the olive tree to curry their favor when founding the city of Athens. Later, the god Aristaeus was said to be responsible for olive growth.
In Judaism, olives are believed to be one of the seven fruits Israel was blessed with and are a part of offerings brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Olive oil was first used as lamp fuel in 2500 B.C.— it wasn't used for cooking until 500 years later!
By 1450, olive oil was used for cooking, fuel, skin lotions and perfumes, as well as cleaning, decorating, and as a pesticide.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a version of this plant's biproduct that goes through the least amount of processing, so it keeps more of the natural antioxidants and vitamins.
The International Olive Council (Yes— that exists!) celebrated the first Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day on September 30th 2019 and each year since on the anniversary.