Monthly Archives: August 2015

  • Summer Recipe: Grilled chicken & peach salad with EVOO, black olives & basil vinaigrette

    Remember that medium heat is best, and as an extra hedge against peaches overcooking and turning mushy, choose fruit that’s a day or two away from being perfectly ripe.

    Ingredients:
    Salt and ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons sugar
    4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, 6 to 8 ounces each, trimmed
    1½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons minced or grated garlic (about 2 large cloves)
    ¼ cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
    ½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Skin slips from grilled peach halves effortlessly

     

    Tip: Skin slips from grilled peach halves effortlessly. Just use your fingers to push it off the flesh.

     

     

     

    Directions:
    – Neutral oil, for the grill
    – 2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into wide planks
    – 4 ripe but firm medium peaches, halved and pitted
    – 6 cups (loosely packed) mixed torn salad greens or mesclun, preferably a combination of sharp- and mild-flavored, washed and dried (about 3 ounces)
    – 2 cups mixed torn Italian parsley leaves and scallion greens sliced into ¾-inch lengths
    – In a large bowl, mix ‚ cup salt, sugar, and 6 cups water, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Submerge the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Rinse the chicken and dry well.

    – Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olives, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil (you should have about ¾ cup dressing). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper if necessary. Set aside.

    – Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to medium-hot and grill with the lid closed.)

    – In a medium bowl, toss the bell pepper planks with 1½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with 1½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with black pepper. Clean and oil the grill grate with the neutral oil and grill the bell pepper planks, turning as necessary, and the chicken, undisturbed, until peppers are grill-marked and tender and chicken is grill-marked and cooked through (155 to 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 8 to 10 minutes, turning the chicken once (do not overcook). Remove the peppers and chicken from the grill and set aside to rest.

    – (If using gas, adjust burners to medium and grill with the lid closed.) Brush the peach halves on both sides with the remaining olive oil and grill, cut side down, until grill-marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and grill the second side for about 2 minutes; remove the peaches from the grill. When cool, remove the skin if desired. Cut the peppers, chicken, and peaches into slices. Whisk the dressing in the large bowl to re-blend, pour half of it into another container, and set aside. Add the salad greens, peppers, and parsley and scallion greens mixture to the bowl, toss to coat, and arrange in a bed on a large serving platter. Arrange the chicken and peaches on the greens, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and serve at once.

    Serves 4

    recipe source

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    Remember that medium heat is best, and as an extra hedge against peaches overcooking and turning mushy, choose fruit that’s a day or two away from being perfectly ripe. Ingredients: Salt and ground black pepper 3 tablespoons sugar 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves,... 
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  • Exclusive recipe: Black olive tapenade toasts with anchovy, capers and EVOO

    SERVES 6

    Ingredients:
    450g (1lb) pitted black olives
    6 anchovy fillets in oil
    1 clove garlic, crushed to a cream
    2 tsp capers, drained of brine or rinsed of salt
    salt and pepper
    zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
    1 small chilli, finely chopped
    6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp chopped parsley, chives and/or thyme
    ½ baguette loaf
    1 clove garlic, cut in half

    Directions:

    1. Chop the olives finely with the anchovy fillets, add the garlic and capers and continue chopping until it becomes a soft paste. Place in a small bowl, taste for seasoning, and add lemon zest, chilli and olive oil until it reaches the consistency you like (stiffer to use as a spread but looser if it is to become a sauce).
    2. Finally add either chopped parsley, chives or thyme – or all three. This may be made in advance and kept in the fridge – although it is best to add the fresh herbs just before serving.
    3. Slice a baguette (or similar country-style bread) thinly and place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a medium-hot oven (approximately 180C fan/200C/gas 6) until golden (this may also be done on a char grill – turning over to colour both sides). While still hot, rub each slice with a cut clove of garlic and serve topped with tapenade.

    Recipe source

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    SERVES 6Ingredients: 450g (1lb) pitted black olives 6 anchovy fillets in oil 1 clove garlic, crushed to a cream 2 tsp capers, drained of brine or rinsed of salt salt and pepper zest of 2 lemons, finely grated 1 small chilli, finely chopped 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp... 
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  • South Texas is a good place to grow olive trees

    One economist argues that South Texas could be a sweet spot for another kind of oil — olive oil.

    “One of the opportunities for diversification in South Texas includes olive oil production. It’s a good place to grow olive trees and the U.S. imports 95 percent of the olive oil that it consumes,” said Thomas Tunstael, professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development.

    The Eagle Ford Shale is where there was an oil and gas drilling bonanza and is just north of the Valley, and the largely untapped Burgos Basin is to the south in Mexico. Tunstael was one of half a dozen analysts who explored the future of energy in South Texas at a conference hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon.

    The United States imports about 300,000 tons of olive oil each year. Domestic production is largely lacking — at about 12,000 tons in 2013, according to the economic development institute. Since olives and the production of olive oil typically has a higher profit margin for an agricultural product and the Valley has a similarly Mediterranean climate, it’s a potentially good fit, he said.

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    One economist argues that South Texas could be a sweet spot for another kind of oil — olive oil. “One of the opportunities for diversification in South Texas includes olive oil production. It’s a good place to grow olive trees and the U.S. imports 95 percent of the olive... 
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  • Study on the degree of knowledge and habits on olive oils among Spanish consumers

    The study “Trends in taste” developed by Consumolab (center inside Ainia specialized in the study of behavior and consumer preferences) shows that most valued foods are the less bitter (68% respondents). A preference that plays against EVOO, especially if we consider that 97.3% of respondents say that they are guided by taste when buying a product.

    The report data are based on an online survey done to consumers of the Consumolab panel, made up of people of both sexes aged between 18 and 60 years who have been segmented by age and gender. All of them have been asked for their preferences for sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes.

    Thus, according to the report, sweet and salty flavors are the favorite of consumers. Specifically, 55% of Millennials (young adults between 20 and 35 years) choose sweet tastes as well as 47.5% of respondents belonging to Generation X (born between the early 60s and 80s). By gender, women are also more partisan of sweetness (51.2%). Finally, Baby Boomers (people born between the 40s and 60s) and men don’t like sweetness, but don’t choose bitter either, they prefer salty (50%).

    As for the preferences in acid and bitter tastes, both increase with age and are more liked by men than women (2.8% and 0.6%, respectively).

    Data were based on 383 surveys accomplished in the linear of the most important supermarkets in Madrid and Córdoba: Carrefour, Hipercor, Lidl and Mercadona.

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    The study “Trends in taste” developed by Consumolab (center inside Ainia specialized in the study of behavior and consumer preferences) shows that most valued foods are the less bitter (68% respondents). A preference that plays against EVOO, especially if we consider... 
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  • Patented a formula that ensures the age of olive trees

    José Luis Penetra Cerveira LousadaPortuguese researcher José Luis Penetra Cerveira Lousada (or the “tree datador”, as he likes to be called), who works at the University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Vila Real, Portugal), has patented, along with his team, a formula that ensures the age of olive trees and ancient chestnut. Mercacei has interviewed him to get to know his job in detail.

    What does your method on dating olive trees have in particular?
    One of the most prominent features of many trees, especially those from regions with very specific cyclic environmental alterations (temperature, precipitation, photoperiod…), is that its wood is formed by concentric rings corresponding to successive annual increases in their growth. If its trunk is sectioned transversely, these rings appear presenting a succession of bright and dark spots depending on their anatomical structure. The first rings correspond to wood formed during the first stage of the growing season (spring), while the darker areas correspond to the wood produced in the final phase of this period (summer/fall). In this sense, evaluating the age of a tree is relatively easy, since all you have to do is count the number of rings present in a cross section of a trunk taken as close as possible to the base area.

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    Portuguese researcher José Luis Penetra Cerveira Lousada (or the “tree datador”, as he likes to be called), who works at the University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Vila Real, Portugal), has patented, along with his team, a formula that ensures the age of olive... 
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  • Don't count calories, eat healthily to cut heart risks, say experts

    Doctors should promote the powerful benefit of healthy food rather than focusing on calories and handing out drugs, experts have said.

    A diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish and olive oil can cut the risk of heart disease, say researchers.

    The rising tide of obesity and unhealthy living should not be ignored but the benefits of medicines to tackle the problem are “exaggerated”, they said.

    Instead, people should eat a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in oily fish, olive oil and nuts, and focus on the nutritional content of food rather than just calories.

    The opinion piece, written in the journal Open Heart, said other changes, such as stopping smoking, also had major benefits.

    Dr Aseem Malhotra, from Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, James DiNicolantonio, from the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas in the US, and Professor Simon Capewell, from the University of Liverpool, said research had shown many times over that simple steps could benefit health.

    For example, drinking a sugary drink (150 calories) is associated with a significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes but a daily handful of nuts (30g of walnuts, 15g of almonds and 15g of hazelnuts) or four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (around 500 calories) is associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

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    Doctors should promote the powerful benefit of healthy food rather than focusing on calories and handing out drugs, experts have said. A diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish and olive oil can cut the risk of heart disease, say researchers. The... 
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  • Italy keeps Indian olive oil importers edgy

    The worst olive harvest in years across Spain and Italy, the world’s two largest olive oil producing countries, is likely to keep Indian importers of olive oil edgy. Marketers have estimated that import costs between January and June are up 20-25 per cent and prices are likely to remain high through the rest of the year and do not rule out passing the cost to consumers.

    The olive crop has been hit by drought conditions in Spain, while trees have been destroyed by the bacterial disease, Xylella fastidiosa, in Italy. Late last month, reports indicated that dwindling stockpiles have seen prices for Spanish extra virgin olive oil (EVO) touch $4,272/tonne, a nine-year high.

    The relatively stronger rupee against the euro through the first half of the year had prevented this rise in import costs from being passed on to the consumer. That could change now, if prices continue to rule higher, said importers, adding that the typical olive oil consumer is unlikely to shift preferences.

    “A marginal price increase won’t push an Indian olive consumer away from the category. The industry as a whole has upped its ante and should have more consumers coming on board,” said an industry source.

    Aseem Soni, Director, Consumer Vertical Pack, Cargill India, owners of the ‘Leonardo’ brand, said: “Prices today are higher, but are being absorbed. Most imports into India are pomace oil, since it has various applications. The pressure is more on EVO. So, the bulk of imports are not affected too much at the moment.”

    According to the International Olive Council, oil production in Spain is likely to fall to 852,000 tonnes in 2014-15, less than half of the previous year’s output. Exports are expected at 225,000 tonnes, down from 310,000 tonnes in 2013-14.

    The Council estimates Italy’s production at 302,500 tonnes, down 35 per cent from 2013-14, although exports in 2014-15 are expected to be only marginally lower than last year. Interestingly, olive oil output in Greece is up 127.4 per cent to 300,000 tonnes, but domestic buyers ruled out changes in procurement sources.

    “We mainly import from Italy and will continue to do so. Pomace is grown in specific pockets of Spain and Italy. It’s a sensitive product, like wine, and consistency needs to be maintained,” said Soni.

    According to Commerce Ministry data, Spain accounted for 63 per cent of Indian olive oil imports in 2014-15, while Italy made up 30.5 per cent. Tunisia and Turkey followed at 4.5 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.

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    The worst olive harvest in years across Spain and Italy, the world’s two largest olive oil producing countries, is likely to keep Indian importers of olive oil edgy. Marketers have estimated that import costs between January and June are up 20-25 per cent and prices are likely... 
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  • Tunisian revenues from olive oil export close to reach $ 1bln

    The Tunisian Council of Olive Oil expects olive oil export revenues to reach more than 1,800 million Tunisian dinars (935,000,000 USD) for the entire season 2014-2015, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining said in a press release Monday.

    The value of olive exports has reached until last July a record level of 1,657 MTD (861,000,000 USD), which represents 60% of the value of food exports, according to the release.

    As for the amounts exported until last July, they reached 265 thousand tones, with the European market cornering the lion’s share with 73% ahead of the US market with 18%.

    Packaged olive oil exports increased until July to 14.3 thousand tones, 40% of which went to the European market and 35% to the US market. They should reach nearly 17 thousand tones at the end of the season.

    source

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    The Tunisian Council of Olive Oil expects olive oil export revenues to reach more than 1,800 million Tunisian dinars (935,000,000 USD) for the entire season 2014-2015, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining said in a press release Monday. The value of olive exports has reached... 
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  • Amazing olive oil packaging for Gino’s Garden created by Marios Karystios

    Once a year, Gino Haddad picks a small quantity of olives from his groves in the Rihaneh region of Lebanon. Each batch goes from field to cold-press within six hours of selection; ensuring its status amongst the highest quality oil’s available.

    Oil is produced annually in limited quantity.

    Marios Karystios olive packaging Gino’s Garden’ designboom the handmade packaging is meant to reflect the special quality of ‘Gino’s Garden’ olive oil.

    To reflect Gino’s unique approach, designer Marios Karystios created specific packaging to carry the product. ‘Gino’s Garden’ bottles are ceramic pieces produced in two uneven olive shapes.

    Karystios, with help from Christina Laouri, used mathematical calculations to make the forms not only manufacturable by hand; but perfect for carrying Gino’s olive oil.

    Both designs are produced in Greece by ceramist Stelios Laskaris.

    2_resize

    details of olive oil pouring3_resize

    the two shapes were optimized using several mathematical calculations6_resize

    detail of tag and cork top1_resize

    the bottles were designed by Marios Karystios4_resize
    source

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    Once a year, Gino Haddad picks a small quantity of olives from his groves in the Rihaneh region of Lebanon. Each batch goes from field to cold-press within six hours of selection; ensuring its status amongst the highest quality oil’s available. Oil is produced annually in limited... 
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  • Global Olive Oil retail prices have risen about 10% in the last 12 months

    Health-conscious consumers beware: a supply squeeze has pushed global prices of olive oil to their highest in nearly a decade and the cost of dressing a salad could rise further due to prospects for another small crop in top producer Spain.

    Commodity prices for virgin olive oil reached €4,099.52 ($4,615) per tonne last week, up more than 60% from a year earlier, according to Spanish industry group La Fundación para la Promoción y el Desarrollo del Olivar.

    Global retail prices have risen about 10% in the last 12 months, Euromonitor research shows.

    “The main reason is a key supply issue, which happened simultaneously in the two most important countries – Spain and Italy,” said Vito Martielli, analyst at Rabobank.
    Crop-damaging droughts last summer shrank the Spanish harvest to 835,000 tonnes, less than half the prior season’s bumper crop of 1.78mn tonnes.

    In Italy, traditionally the world’s No 2 producer, insect-borne bacteria destroyed swaths of olive groves in the southeast and cut production by more than 50% to 222,000 tonnes.
    Olive oil hits highest in nearly a decade
    Global production for 2014/15 dropped by 29%, figures from the International Olive Council (IOC) show, helping to push olive oil’s commodity price to its highest since February 2006.
    The supply crunch was partially eased by unusually large harvests in Greece and Tunisia, as well as ample Spanish stocks from the previous crop.

    But those supplies have now been heavily depleted. Global stocks are expected to dwindle to about 274,000 tonnes by the end of the current 2014/15 season, from 767,500 tonnes a year earlier, the IOC estimates.

    Another heatwave this summer has further pressured European olive crops and fuelled concerns about a second poor harvest in Spain, which produces about 45% of the world’s olive oil.

    Forecasts call for a harvest of about 1.1 to 1.2mn tonnes, slightly below the five-year average of 1.25mn. Analysts say yields could be even smaller if Spain gets insufficient rain before harvesting starts in late October. “The summer has been hot and this hot temperature is not helping the trees, which are under stress,” Martielli said.

    Retail prices for olive oil may climb a further 15 to 20% in the coming months, according to David Turner, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. But this could trigger a consumer pullback and a price correction.

    “The market will struggle if prices keep rising,” Turner said. “I think consumers will then start switching down the value chain. Olive oil is still the healthiest oil and it’s still the gold standard, but it’s not the only oil in town.”

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    Health-conscious consumers beware: a supply squeeze has pushed global prices of olive oil to their highest in nearly a decade and the cost of dressing a salad could rise further due to prospects for another small crop in top producer Spain. Commodity prices for virgin olive oil... 
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  • Researchers introduced Nanomembranes to purify Wastewater of Olive Oil Plants

    Iranian researchers studied and compared the performance of various types of laboratorial and commercial membranes in purification of olive oil production plants. The researchers introduced a special arrangement of synthetic nanomembranes as the best system to obtain the highest efficiency in the purification process and to reduce the costs.

    Studies on purification of olive oil wastewater showed that membrane processes have the highest efficiency while their operational cost is reasonable. Therefore, various types of ultrafiltration with nanometric pores and nanofiltration membranes have been produced in this research, and they have been compared to the existing commercial samples in the field of olive oil purification process. The aim of the study was to find the best membrane to decrease the contamination as much as possible.

    According to the research, the membrane purification system with a consistent arrangement is better than other methods reported in the previous researches to purity olive oil wastewater. The unique arrangement proposed in this research has two stages of nanofiltration, and it is able to purify olive oil wastewater at very high efficiency. In general, the results showed significant decrease in the amount of pollution based on the environmental standards.

    Using nanofiltration membranes decreases the operational pressure in the final purification stage in comparison with reverse osmosis process. This fact has numerous positive effects by decreasing operational and investment costs.

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    Iranian researchers studied and compared the performance of various types of laboratorial and commercial membranes in purification of olive oil production plants. The researchers introduced a special arrangement of synthetic nanomembranes as the best system to obtain the highest... 
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  • Plagues and pests in Spain and Italy are opening markets for Greek olive oil

    Greece’s economy may be pressed on all sides by austerity measures, capital controls, and political forces within and without. But as the October start of the olive harvest approaches, some of the country’s entrepreneurs see a rare opportunity to take market share from Spain and Italy, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 producers of olive oil.

    11Lousy weather, a mysterious tree disease, and a fruit fly that feasts on olives have decimated groves in Italy. Nearly a tenth of the 10 million trees in Puglia are infected with a disease that has been dubbed “olive ebola” (some scientists believe it is the bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa), which slowly kills the trees. As a result, Italy’s olive oil producers are bracing for another bad season, on the heels of a 34 percent decline in output in 2014-15, to 302,000 metric tons, according to data from the Madrid-based International Olive Council (IOC). Production in Spain fell by more than half, to 825,700 tons, in the most recent season, and will likely remain depressed due to a prolonged drought.

    Greece saw its output more than double in the previous season, to 300,000 tons, and the local industry is hopeful it will be close to that in the coming season. Thanks to this combination of factors, Greek olive oil is more competitive than ever, at least on a price basis. According to a June report from the council, wholesale prices for extra-virgin categories from Italy and Spain have surged 114 percent and 84 percent this year, respectively, to €5.66 ($6.25) per kilo and €3.59 per kilo. In contrast, prices for Greek oil have climbed just 24 percent, to €3.09 per kilo.

    The price advantage is helping small and midsize producers who make up most of Greece’s olive oil industry find new markets. The IOC reports Greek exports from the most recent harvest to the U.S., now the world’s top olive oil consumer, rose 28 percent from October 2014 through June of this year, while exports from Spain and Italy both dropped more than 50 percent.

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    Greece’s economy may be pressed on all sides by austerity measures, capital controls, and political forces within and without. But as the October start of the olive harvest approaches, some of the country’s entrepreneurs see a rare opportunity to take market share from Spain... 
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  • EVOO use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol

    Compared to other kinds of fat, extra virgin olive oil may have healthier effects on levels of blood sugar and bad cholesterol after meals, according to an Italian study.

    That may explain why a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

    “Lowering (post-meal) blood glucose and cholesterol may be useful to reduce the negative effects of glucose and cholesterol on the cardiovascular system,” lead study author Francesco Violi, a researcher at Sapienza University in Rome, said by email.

    Violi and his colleagues tested the effect of adding extra virgin olive oil to a Mediterranean diet based on fruits, vegetables, grains and fish, with only limited consumption of dairy or red meat.

    On two separate occasions, researchers gave 25 healthy people a typical Mediterranean lunch. For one meal, they added 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) of extra virgin olive oil, and for the other, they added 10 grams of corn oil.

    Blood tests done before and two hours after the meals found that blood sugar rose after eating in all the participants, which is normal. But blood sugar rose much less after a meal with olive oil compared to one with corn oil.

    That’s in line with previous research linking EVOO to elevated levels of insulin, a hormone that helps convert glucose into energy, Violi said.

    It’s unclear, though, why the blood tests after meals with olive oil also showed lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad kind of cholesterol that builds up in blood vessels and can lead to atherosclerosis, blood clots and heart attacks.

    “Lowering (post-meal) blood glucose and cholesterol may be useful to reduce the negative effects of glucose and cholesterol on the cardiovascular system,” Violi said.

    Worldwide, more people die of cardiovascular diseases than any other cause. These conditions killed an estimated 17.5 million people in 2012, most often from heart disease or stroke, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Violi’s team also found that after meals with corn oil, people had significantly higher levels of two kinds of LDL than they did after meals supplemented with extra virgin olive oil.

    The study is quite small, and didn’t explore whether adding corn oil to meals might be better than including no oil at all, the researchers acknowledge in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.

    Even so, they argue, theirs is among the first studies to link a Mediterranean diet containing extra virgin olive oil to lower blood sugar and LDL cholesterol after meals.

    People who want to get any potential health benefits from extra virgin olive oil shouldn’t take this experiment as permission to pour it on top of every meal, noted Arrigo Cicero, a scientist at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna who wasn’t involved in the study.

    “Use extra virgin olive oil instead of other fats,” Cicero said by email. “The assumption is it has to be included as a source of energy in the context of a balanced diet.”

    SOURCE

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    Compared to other kinds of fat, extra virgin olive oil may have healthier effects on levels of blood sugar and bad cholesterol after meals, according to an Italian study. That may explain why a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular... 
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  • Recipes: Easy breakfast Granola & medley of roasted summer veggies with extra virgin olive oil

    Chunky maple cinnamon granola is an easy choice for snacks or a topping for yogurt.
    I recommend old-fashioned oats because they’re larger and bake up nicely. Be careful when breaking apart.

    Mix together the following Ingredients:

    4 cups old-fashioned oats
    About 1 to 1-1/2 cups favorite nuts, chopped coarsely if necessary
    1 cup seeds: Try sesame, flax, millet, chia, hemp, pumpkin or sunflower or a combination.

    Coating

    Whisk together:
    1/2 to 2/3 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup real maple syrup or honey
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 325. Put a piece of parchment or foil on large cookie sheet (about 15×17 with sides). Spray parchment/foil. Pour coating over oat mixture. Pour onto pan and pat down evenly and very firmly. This is important to make the granola chunk up later. Bake 35 minutes or so, until it looks golden. I like to pat it down again while it’s still warm. Let cool and break into chunks.

    Healthy seeds

    Millet (you recognize it as an ingredient in bird feed) gives a crunch and contains protein and iron.

    Chia, like flax, is a great source of Omega 3’s, but doesn’t have to be ground to get the benefit. It also absorbs water and curbs appetite.

    Hemp seeds. So, I know what you’re thinking … you won’t go off into la-la land after ingesting hemp seeds. They are hulled and safe to eat. The bonus: they’re a complete protein and full of Omega 3s.

    Recipe:Medley of roasted summer veggies with EVOO

    Simple and easy to serve, the veggies are cut up prior to roasting.

    Ingredients:
    4 cups summer veggies, like asparagus, small turnips, beets, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, green beans, etc., cut up
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    Red pepper flakes to taste
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 425. Combine all the ingredients and seasonings in large bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread vegetables out on large-rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender.

    Tip from Rita’s kitchen
    Olive oil vs. grape seed oil: Olive oil is made from olives and grape seed oil is made from the seeds of grapes. Because they are plant-derived, neither contains cholesterol. Both have vitamin E, which is good for your immune system and protects your cells. Grape seed oil has twice the vitamin E of olive oil.

    Olive oil has a distinct flavor where grape seed oil has a neutral flavor. Although both oils have a high smoke point (good for high temperatures), grape seed has a higher smoke point than olive. Which one to use depends upon the flavor profile you are looking for.

    Recipe by Rita Nader Heikenfeld, source
    Rita Nader Heikenfeld is an herbalist, educator, Jungle Jim’s Eastgate culinary professional and author.

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    Chunky maple cinnamon granola is an easy choice for snacks or a topping for yogurt. I recommend old-fashioned oats because they’re larger and bake up nicely. Be careful when breaking apart. Mix together the following Ingredients: 4 cups old-fashioned oats About 1 to 1-1/2 cups... 
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  • Recipe: Rustic tomato soup with olive oil & bread

    This deep-flavored soup originates from Andalucía in southern Spain and is served cold, spiked with cumin and sherry vinegar.

    Ingredients
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    200g sourdough bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks
    1kg very ripe tomatoes
    2 fat garlic cloves
    2 flame-roasted red peppers, peeled and deseeded (from a jar is fine)
    1 tbsp sherry vinegar

    To serve
    2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
    4 slices serrano ham
    small handful parsley
    drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

    Method
    1.Put a small frying pan on a low heat, add the cumin seeds and toast for 1-2 mins, stirring frequently. Crush the seeds using a pestle and mortar. Soak the bread in cold water for 10 mins.

    2.Meanwhile, to skin the tomatoes, cut a cross in the skin on the top and bottom of each tomato, then put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. After 1-2 mins, drain the tomatoes and plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water. The skins should now peel off easily.
    3.Cut the flesh into quarters and remove the seeds and pulp. Put the seeds and pulp in a sieve over a bowl and squish to release all the juices from around the seeds. Keep the juice and discard the seeds and pulp.

    4.Put the garlic, tomato quarters and juice, peppers and cumin in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Squeeze out the water from the bread, then add to the processor. Season and blitz until very smooth. Add the vinegar to taste, checking for a good balance of flavours, then cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.

    5.When ready to serve, roughly chop the eggs, serrano ham and parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls and add some of each of the toppings. Add a drizzle of your best olive oil, a grinding of pepper and serve.

    Recipe source

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    Rating: 3.3/10 (354 votes cast)
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    Rating: -9 (from 113 votes)
    This deep-flavored soup originates from Andalucía in southern Spain and is served cold, spiked with cumin and sherry vinegar. Ingredients 1 tsp cumin seeds 200g sourdough bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks 1kg very ripe tomatoes 2 fat garlic cloves 2 flame-roasted red peppers,... 
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  • Venture Fair in Athens gives Greek EVOO entrepreneurs newfound hope

    There was a wide array of participating businesses, from agriculture to tourism, transport, to logistics and shipping.

    A day before the Greek government announced the referendum and four days before it imposed capital controls, the first-ever venture fair was held in Greece. After five years of a crippling recession, the Greek economy was on the road to recovery for the first time this year with a forecast of 3 percent GDP growth. However the past few months have seen the Greek economy take a turn for the worse: after a disastrous standoff with its international creditors and the imposition of capital controls, the GDP is now expected to drop by -3 percent to 2.5 percent, and the “real” economy has nosedived bringing enormous setbacks to businesses, particularly SME’s which are effectively isolated and unable to pay their international suppliers. At a time when the whole notion of entrepreneurship in Greece was being tested, this venture fair was seen as a ray of hope and a chance for business people to meet potential investors from all over the world.

    The fair was hosted by The Hellenic Initiative, an international movement run by members of the Greek diaspora, that seeks to bolster Greek entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, the group has promoted various charitable activities — but most importantly economic recovery initiatives which have — understandably — often been neglected as crisis relief became the center of most charitable activities in Greece.

    The event, which more than 100 European and American investors attended, took place behind closed doors at the Hilton Athens at the end of June. The notion that Greece is not the most hospitable environment for business is most likely taken as fact by now. As Achilles Konstantakopoulos, chairman and CEO of ΤEMES, noted in his brief introduction speech: “Greeks have to face bureaucracy as well as the market.”

    George Stamas, the co-founder of The Hellenic Initiative, explained in his own speech how the venture fair coincides with “some of the hardest times that Greece has faced to this day.”

    During the event, 19 up-and-coming Greek companies had the opportunity to present their businesses. Each had five minutes. After the presentations, the judges’ panel, which consisted of experienced business executives (often Greeks of the diaspora themselves) from around the world, provided feedback, observations, and advice to the participants.

    Especially impressive were the businesses that have traditional Greek commercial activity, but also innovate. One such example is Terra Creta, a company based in Kolymvari, Crete, that manages something quite difficult: to produce extra virgin olive oil in large quantities, and has already expanded to the American market through the online channel QVC. As presenter Fotis Sousalis explained, the reason they wanted to attend the venture fair was to find partners with whom to expand in the American market in a more organized manner. The judges were particularly impressed by Terra Creta’s “traceability,” i.e. the possibility for the consumer to “trace” their olive oil. By inputting the five digit lot number of each olive oil product on the company’s website, the consumer can trace back the olive oil to its place of origin (even down tot the exact olive grove!) as well as see its chemical analysis and date of production.

    Ideas in other less “sexy” areas were also successful: The judges’ interest was monopolized by Join Cargo. Greek-Dutch Roxanne Koutsolouka’s company is a web services platform that matches companies wishing to carry goods with carriers who need loads to fill their trucks. “Many trucks are almost empty. Our job is to fill those trucks,” said Ms. Koutsolouka during her presentation.

    Another very good impression was made by Owiwi (a company HuffPost Greece covered months earlier) which aspires, as co-founder Elias Vartholomaios explained to the attendees, to sell the notion of job recruitment through video games. It was by no means the only “online” based business at the fair.

    Incrediblue is already in business chartering yachts (with or without a captain and crew) and as its founder, Antonis Fiorakis, explained, they came to the venture fair “looking to expand.” Then there was Yolenis, which aspires to become the most successful online delicatessen of Greek products worldwide, while Park Around helps solve the issue of finding parking with an app.

    Almost all companies and judges expressed their enthusiasm for the first Greek venture fair despite the setbacks and hardships of the Greek market. “I think that as a team, we learned a lot from all this,” said Stratis Andreadis, the co-founder of Saltybag, a company from Corfu that manufactures bags from used sails.

    Conditions for Greek entrepreneurship remain difficult and things will likely stay challenging for a while. But as Kurt Heiar, professor at the University of Iowa and collaborator of the Hellenic Initiative, said when referring to the 19 entrepreneurs who took part in the venture fair, risk and uncertainty are part of everyday life for an entrepreneur: “We live with uncertainty, we live with risk, that is what we do. We are not afraid of uncertainty or the threatening winds blowing in the world of politics. We shall move on, we shall succeed and we shall make our dreams a reality.”

    Article source

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    Rating: 3.2/10 (245 votes cast)
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    There was a wide array of participating businesses, from agriculture to tourism, transport, to logistics and shipping. A day before the Greek government announced the referendum and four days before it imposed capital controls, the first-ever venture fair was held in Greece.... 
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  • Olive Farmers using fly traps get rid of a destructive pest, without the chemicals

    Next time you drizzle olive oil on your salad, give a thought to the larvae of the olive fly, which love olives as much as you do. Every year in Catalonia, Spain, farmers have to fight these pests so they don’t ruin the year’s crop. The customary method is to spray with insecticides, but in recent years a simpler weapon has gained favor: the olive fly trap.

    The female olive fly is slightly larger than the male, and can be spotted by the spike at the end of its abdomen. This spike is used to inject eggs into the olive flesh while they are still on the tree. When the eggs hatch, the young feed on the olive pulp.

    These flies are endemic to the Baix Ebre and the Montsià regions of Catalonia. In 2014, 40% of the harvest was lost to olive flies and drought. Spraying can be effective, but is a big job, has to be repeated, and is less effective when it’s windy because the spray just blows away. This year, 400,000 traps were deployed to try a different approach.

    The trap is as simple as it gets. Supplied as flat sheets of plastic, the traps are twisted into a cone shape on site and hung from trees. Instead of the usual liquid bait, these traps use a solid attractant (mostly diammonium phosphate) contained in a sachet made of a porous membrane. Imagine those little sachets of desiccant you find in your new electronics and you’ll be close enough. These packets are moistened overnight by dew, ready to bait flies in the morning. The traps work all season long, and keep going through the winter which, thanks to the pleasant local climate, isn’t always cold enough to kill off the flies.

    Holes on the top let flies walk in, but they can’t fly back out. And that’s it. Farmers like them because they work in the wind, and once you’ve hung it on the tree it keeps going. The traps are effective too, if they’re deployed properly. To work most successfully, the majority of an area must be blanketed by traps. In a trial in June of this year, technician Quique Pedret managed to cover 20,000 of the 27,000 hectares in the test area, partly due to the fact that farmers are enthusiastic about the low-maintenance traps.

    This is corroborated by Jordi Roig of Probodelt, the company that manufactures these traps. In a trial at a farm in Montsià, Probodelt found the traps to be more effective than spraying. Thanks to their long life, the traps can be spread over huge areas, and Roig estimates that just one trap per four trees gives optimum protection if the entire area is covered. ”

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    “This does’t means that the entire population is eliminated,” Roig told Barcelona’s Vanguardia newspaper. “The treatment will reduce the fly population.”

    But can these traps replace pesticide spraying by plane? Not completely, but they form an important part of the fight against olive flies.

    “It’s important to remember that the traps don’t replace other methods,” Jaume Gregori Puñet, a retired sustainable agriculture expert in the government of the Generalitat of Catalunya told Co.Exist. “In the case of very intense attack of the pest, crop spraying is necessary to achieve a satisfactory solution.”

    New government supplements are available to farmers who use the traps, which will help their popularity. But it’s also possible to make your own traps. In fact, when I started to research this article, the majority of the results were for DIY versions using old soft-drinks bottles, proving that some things—like farmers’ ingenuity and their drive never to waste anything—never change.

    Article source

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    Rating: 3.5/10 (195 votes cast)
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    Rating: -2 (from 68 votes)
    Next time you drizzle olive oil on your salad, give a thought to the larvae of the olive fly, which love olives as much as you do. Every year in Catalonia, Spain, farmers have to fight these pests so they don’t ruin the year’s crop. The customary method is to spray with insecticides,... 
    Read More →