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We talked with Jale Balcı and Müge Nebioğlu, the authors of the book “Olive Oil, the Fruit of Deep Roots”, in which the subtleties of olive oil, which is considered to be healing in all cultures, and the journey of olive oil from its branch to the table, are told.

Can we listen to the story of the book’s release?

JALE BALCI: Our country is olive oil paradise; I grew up in a family that loved olive oil. We consume more than 150 liters of olive oil per year. Since I am a restaurant, catering chef and consultant chef, I use olive oil a lot in the kitchen. Olive, olive oil is one of the most important nutritional elements of our country. We came across Müge during the harvest of a company. Neither of us were very happy. Such activities are very important for me in terms of learning something and adding something to myself. “I am writing a book called ‘Taste Journey’,” I said, and he said to me, “Maybe we can create the right resources for people who write the book on olive oil.” The aim of our book is to increase the awareness of olive oil and to explain its value to the people of our country.

Olives and olive oil have a special place in all cultures, right?

JALE BALCI : The olive tree, which is included in all the holy books, has a deep-rooted history that goes back to prehistoric times. It has many mythological stories; It was known as the ‘golden elixir’ in ancient times. Olive oil has been more than just a food for the cultures of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years; Besides its medicinal, ceremonial and magical functions, it formed the basis of great wealth and power. Although olive and olive oil has spread all over the world from the Eastern Mediterranean, it ranks 5th in production. Annual consumption per capita in many Mediterranean regions is 15 liters, while in Turkey it is only 2 liters per year.

Can we say that olive oil, which is used in different areas from eating and drinking to soap making, is medicinal?

JALE BALCI: Olive oil is known as the most healing source of ancient times. The father of medicine Hippocrates believed that olive oil was the best healer. Olive oil has been a muscle relaxant, pain reliever of burns and wounds, good for stomachache, and has been used by everyone for centuries with its healing properties. While we were writing the book, the functional medicine practitioner and medical doctor Prof. Dr. We proceeded by asking Nazan Uysal Harzadin. In fact, olive oil is the healthiest of all bottled oils. In particular, it has been determined that cold-pressed olive oil with high polyphenols provides benefits in the treatment of diseases as well as protecting our health today.

Thanks to the book, will we be able to witness all the stages of olive oil until it is bottled?

MÜGE NEBİOĞLU: In the book, we explained the process from the formation of olives to the bottling of olive oil. Olive, like every fruit, takes its first step into its life by blooming, but the care done to the tree before this period, the geographical and climatic conditions it is in determine the character of the fruit. We wanted to describe these phases without being boring. Olive has a life that will impress everyone who reads it, and we tried to explain it in a simple language. Of course, this story continues with the seasonal development of the olive and ends with the harvest. At this point, we have emphasized the points to be considered in the harvest. But the story of the olive does not end and a new story begins with the harvest: Processing! Table olives and stories of their return to olive oil… Olive is a fruit with a strong memory; He does not forget what was done to him and tells you his story in the final product. This is exactly why we mentioned the tasting of olive oil.

What should be considered when buying olive oil? How do we know good olive oil?

MÜGE NEBİOĞLU: The most important thing when buying olive oil is to choose quality, perfect and qualified ones. For olive oil to be beneficial, we must reach sensory-perfect olive oil, as we mentioned in the book. Ultimately, olive oil is in the fat group as a food and has high calories; If we do not use the right olive oil, we will get an empty calorie instead of benefit. Olive oil differs from other oils due to its antioxidant properties, high monounsaturated fatty acids and squalene content. In the sensory tasting criteria section, we explained how the smell and taste of olive oil should be. To put it briefly, a good olive oil should have the smell of fresh grass and grass. It should not be bitter in taste and burning in the throat. Unfortunately, olive oil is a cheated product; For this reason, we should pay attention to the brand and label information of the product, except for the important issues we mentioned when buying olive oil.




4 medium zucchini, grated

1 clove of crushed garlic

5 tablespoons of ripe harvest olive oil

3 tablespoons of strained yogurt

2 tablespoons of tahini

juice of 1 lemon

10 grams of butter

3-4 sprigs of finely chopped dill

Small amount of cumin, paprika, black pepper, salt, pomegranate seeds

Preparation & Serving

Fry the grated zucchini in a pan with olive oil. season with salt and pepper. Add tahini, lemon juice, yoghurt with garlic added and cumin on it slowly, mix. Remove to serving plate. Melt the butter with the paprika and pour it over the zucchini. Sprinkle the dill. Serve warm or cold with pomegranate seeds.

Report: Drop Stop

Taken from ELLE Turkey June 2022 issue.

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