To Greeks, garlic is eaten as a vegetable. It is used as a seasoner for
meats, especially lamb, tomato sauces and every kind of vegetable. Mostly,
garlic is used with lemon and olive oil.
Hippocrates classified garlic as sudorific drug which was bad for the eyes
and should be used for medicinal purposes only. Many Greek peasants use mashed
garlic as a poultice for chest colds.
Olive Oil is deeply seated in Greek cooking and is used as the main cooking
oil. Greece is the third largest producer in the world of olive oil with the
best coming from Kalamata and Crete.
Olive Oil is made from fifty varieties of olives and similar to wine, its
quality depends on where the olives are grown and how the oil is extracted.
Cold-pressed olive oil is made by spreading olive pulp on mats that are
layered and placed in a wooden press. With a weight on the mats, the oil is
released into a vat below. Extra-virgin olive oil is defined by low acidity
(less than 1 percent) is made from the pulp of just-ripened olives. This oil has
the best taste for salads. The extra-virgin oil is left for days--up to a week
to settle. Virgin olive oil has an acid content of 3.3 percent or less. It is
also cold-pressed but the olives are not always top quality. Pure olive oil is
the lowest grade and is generally from later presses of the olives used in
The Crusaders introduced lemon to the Greeks in the thirteenth century. Today
lemon is the most used fruit flavoring in Greek cooking.
Lemon juice is the essence ingredient in many marinades and sauces and
compliments well with olive oil. It is a favorite basting for grilled foods. It
is the secret ingredient in dessert sauces and soups. It is often mated with
oregano to flavor fish, meat and poultry.
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