Deuteronomy 8:8 NLT: “It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey.”
Luke 10:34 NLT: "Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him."
Olive oil was plentiful in Bible times, due to the abundant crop of olive trees which continue to bear fruit even into old age. The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done the night before His crucifixion, is known for its gnarled, twisted olive trees. Green olives produced the best fruit and oil. Olives made delicious side dishes pickled or in a relish. The versatile, pressed olive oil was used in baking bread as well as in a salve for wounds, softening skin, in lamps, or even as a sacred anointing oil for kings.
Jordan Rubin says that olive oil is one of the most digestible fats and helps to reduce aging of body tissues, organs, and even the brain. Others as well as Rubin believe it protects against the risks of cancer, heart disease, and can even guard against stomach ulcers. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make olives and olive oil a valuable product for your pantry.
I still use extra-virgin olive oil in light sautés even though some say it is less effective when heated. But it makes great salad dressings. Just add 3 parts olive oil to one part of your favorite vinegar (I like flavored balsamic), and an assortment of your favorite seasonings—with a touch of honey if you need a sweetener. It will keep refrigerated for days and maybe weeks unless you use fresh seasonings. The oil will get thick, but you can heat your container in warm water, then shake for use again.
Photo by Nazar Hrabovyi on Unsplash