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Evidence also suggests that olives were being grown in Crete as long ago as 2,500 BC.The earliest surviving olive oil amphorae date to 3500 BC (Early Minoan times), though the production of olive oil is assumed to have started before 4000 BC.However, per capita consumption is highest in Greece, followed by Spain, Italy, and Morocco.Consumption in North America and northern Europe is far less, but rising steadily.In my mind, there is a minimum level of quality that a homemade chocolate chip cookie should at least meet.
The Spartans and other Greeks used oil to rub themselves while exercising in the gymnasia. Australia now produces a substantial amount of olive oil.Extra virgin olive oil is required to have no more than 0.8% free acidity and is considered to have favorable flavor characteristics.Until 1500 BC, eastern coastal areas of the Mediterranean were most heavily cultivated.A commercial mill for non-sacramental use of oil was in use in the tribal confederation and later in 1000 BC, in the Levant, an area consisting of present-day Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Robin Lane Fox suggests that the Latin borrowing of Greek elaion for oil (Latin oleum) is itself a marker for improved Greek varieties of oil-producing olive, already present in Italy as Latin was forming, brought by Euboean traders, whose presence in Latium is signaled by remains of their characteristic pottery, from the mid-8th century.Over 100 olive presses have been found in Tel Miqne (Ekron), one of the five main cities of the Biblical Philistines. There are many different olive cultivars, each with a particular flavor, texture, and shelf life that make them more or less suitable for different applications, such as direct human consumption on bread or in salads, indirect consumption in domestic cooking or catering, or industrial uses such as animal feed or engineering applications.
The oil became a principal product of the Minoan civilization, where it is thought to have represented wealth.