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Olive oil

Oleaceae Olea europaea L.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

See Olive, for tree and fruit characteristics.

Olive oil is obtained from the fleshy portion of the fruit, which contains from 14 to as high as 40 percent of non-drying oil, depending on variety and growing conditions. World production of oil totals around 1,000,000 tons annually, mainly in Mediterranean countries. For best oil, fruit is harvested just before full maturity. The fruit is crushed then pressed in various ways, depending on available facilities. Solvents are generally used for final extraction of the press cake, to obtain maximum oil yield. The oil is used as salad and cooking oil. Low-grade oils are used mainly for making soap. In the U.S., only about 5,000 tons are crushed for oil annually. Annual imports of olive oil average near 50 million pounds.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch