Friday, July 14, 2017

The Saracean Olive Groves

In Sicily Olive trees are often referred to as Saracean Olives.  A nod to the 9th Century Arabs (and numerous others) who invaded these lands and brought with them many varieties of olives.  Many of the larger olive trees are hundreds of years old.

Even the younger twist and turn and give an enchanted appearance.

The Olive was the first cultivar of Sicily and oleasters (the wild olive trees)
have been around as long as Sicily.

Olive Oil is the life-blood of Sicily.

Exported...Used for food preservation, cooking, lotions and soaps...Bottled and Canned...Both Bread and Babies are dipped in it. The bread for the amazing taste it imparts. The their Christening. 

Olives here are still picked by hand...and shook into widely spread nets on the ground...though the pressing is now mechanized.

The oil is usually greenish, or in some cases golden.

Cold Pressing (no heat involved) results in Virgin or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. also known as EVOO. Olive Oil that is called REFINED is  obtained after the first press from the crushed olive leftovers. The oil is extracted through heating. The lower the acidity...the better or higher quality the olive oil.

The olives themselves firm and greenish with a tangy bite. Some are stuffed with pimento or (my favorite) Feta Cheese.

The bite of the olive compliments the saltiness of the Feta perfectly.

Tour of a Seggio Sicily Olive Grove 

Olive trees are surprisingly a member of the Evergreen family.

More anon!