Apr 062011

I have been writing a lot about olive oil so let’s talk about table olives too, and not just the ones you find on pizza or in a salad, the ones that complement the raw and vegan lifestyles. I’m not vegan and the closest I get to raw are those veggie trays at the church pot luck, but there is an olive and olive oil market for those who eat raw and vegan too.

If you saw the video in my article, Conventional or Organic and Peruvian Organic Olives, the narrator, Dr. Christopher Daugherty, showed us organic black olives that had been sundried, which is a natural dehydration method, and he claimed that the farm he was visiting produced “the first only dehydrated, cured black olive on the planet”. I thought his comment was interesting and did a little research into what market they might be going after and it turned out to be the raw and vegan lifestyles markets.

What does eating “raw” entail? The food is pretty much uncooked, heating cannot exceed 42 C/118 F, and is preferably organic and unprocessed.

What about “vegan”? A vegan follows a diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy, fish, all animal-derived ingredients, and foods processed using animal products. Vegans also avoid using animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool.

The olives we saw in the Peruvian Organic Farm video are from a variety called Botija, which I have also seen spelled Botilla. For those who eat raw, the sundried, black Botija olives are a favorite. The olives we find in the grocery, even though to most of us seem raw, do not qualify. There is debate in the raw foods world about olives. Check out the section on olives from the website, Tried Tasted Served/The Art of Raw Food and Healthy Living.

Olives of many types and curing methods fit into a vegan diet, but not entirely. Some olives are cured in wine in addition to brine and lye, and some wines are restricted in a vegan’s diet. Vegans also do not restrict their diet to just organic produce, so there are more olive varieties available to them.

The only olive oil I’ve seen being sold for those who eat raw is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced by the Bariani Family of Sacramento, California. The olives are grown organically and are cold-pressed so there is no additional thermal heat added other than the friction produced by very slowly grinding the olives before they are pressed.

For vegans to stay on the safe side with olive oil, it is best to purchase only Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The other grades of olive oil are processed using chemicals which may or may not be derived from animals. It is best to err on the side of caution.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olive crazy.com