` Exploiting the Gifts of Olives Beyond the Kitchen - Olive Oil Times

Exploiting the Gifts of Olives Beyond the Kitchen

Jan. 31, 2014
Luciana Squadrilli

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So you think extra vir­gin olive oil is only good to sea­son your salad? Chefs and pas­try-chefs already prove that extra vir­gin can play a lead­ing role among other, more clas­si­cal ingre­di­ents in their orig­i­nal and elab­o­rate recipes. But lately, com­pa­nies and researchers all over the world are exper­i­ment­ing with new appli­ca­tions, exploit­ing the olive’s inner qual­i­ties such as taste, health ben­e­fits or as a power source.

In 2009, Italian designer Giulio Patrizi launched Eco Fast Furniture, a com­pletely sus­tain­able out­door fur­ni­ture range being made of totally recy­cled and recy­clable mate­r­ial, Ecomat, derived from the waste of olive oil pro­duc­tion. Created for the Mediterranean Design Competition the project received a spe­cial men­tion at the Istanbul Design Week for inno­v­a­tive use of mate­ri­als. More lately, a research group leaded by Maurizio Servili at Perugia University in Italy has been work­ing on pos­si­ble uses of olive mill left­overs to make build­ing and fuel mate­r­ial.

Wrangler’s olive oil jeans”

But olive oil’s exploita­tion can go even fur­ther.

As already reported on Olive Oil Times by Julie Butler, Wrangler, the world-famous American man­u­fac­turer spe­cial­ized in denim cloth­ing, launched mois­tur­iz­ing jeans with olive oil, along with the sooth­ing and anti-cel­lulite” ones, based on aloe vera and caf­feine. The mois­tur­iz­ing effect is guar­an­teed by the olive oil com­po­nent squa­lene, a pow­er­ful hydra­tor that has the same struc­ture to a lipid found nat­u­rally in human skin so that it can eas­ily pen­e­trate the upper lay­ers.

Cazzetta liquor with olive oil

The French blog Passion Olive author Bastien Milhau col­lects sto­ries and odd facts about extra vir­gin: like the olive liqueur tra­di­tion­ally made in the Gard – a south­ern France depart­ment in the Languedoc-Roussillon region – through the dis­til­la­tion of black olives in pure alco­hol and sugar and brought back to life by a local craft dis­tiller.

In Apulia – at Italy’s south­ern far end – we can find another tra­di­tional olive liqueur made by extra vir­gin olive oil pro­ducer Cazzetta fol­low­ing an ancient recipe by the Basilian monks. The old recipe was found in an ancient under­ground olive mill and is made using grappa and local Cellina di Nardò and Ogliarola Salentina olives.

Air-lift chew­ing gum with extra vir­gin olive oil

A Spanish com­pany recently launched Air-lift, a line of den­tal gums expressly con­ceived to fight bad breath, plaque and tar­tar thanks to a for­mula based on olive oil. A patented com­bi­na­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil, xyl­i­tol and flu­o­ride traps and flushes the VSC (Volatile Sulfur Compounds, respon­si­ble for bad breath) with­out alter­ing the nat­ural bal­ance of the mouth.

In Southern Italy where olive groves are com­mon, locals used to make teas to take all the fla­vor and ben­e­fits from the olive trees with­out wast­ing the pre­cious fruits. The most ten­der leaves were hand-picked and slowly dried under the sun or in spe­cial ovens ensur­ing the max­i­mum con­tent of anti-oxi­dants and oleu­ropein is main­tained.

This ancient usage has been redis­cov­ered by the com­pany Mirabilia whose olive groves, accord­ing to their web­site, are sit­u­ated on an ancient archae­o­log­i­cal site – Cluviae – once home to the Sanniti tribes, who cul­ti­vated their olives on the very same wide Abruzzan plateau in Roman times.”


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