Ullastre: menorcan wild olive tree
Menorca and its wild olive tree
The pretty much immaculate nature of Menorca bears distinctive characteristics, that make them unique among other mediterranean islands.
As a matter of fact, the rocky and clayey soil of Menorca, has incite the growth of a unique species of ollive tree: the so called Ullastre, (Olea Europaea Sylvestris), also known in spanish as “acebuche” or “olivo silvestre”. It actually covers a third of the menorcan territory, followed by pine trees and oaks.
This olive tree longevity is remarkable, as it can live for more tha 100 years. Its wood is very resistant and has been used for centuries to different aims:
Once upon a time it was used to buildt all agricultural tools.
You certainly have met him, as all the wooden gates of the countryside ( called "araderas") are made with this wood, as well as many fences along the Camì de Cavalls.
It is also used to light up fireplaces, as it burns very slowly and releases a charactteristic aroma.
Some of its specimen have been catalogued as "singular menorcan trees", and some of the most ancients can be foud just outside Mahon airort.
Ullastre Oil (Acebuche)
In spite of the numbers of trees on the island, its fruit (the olivó) is not very plump, and to produce just one liter of its oil 15 to 20 kg of olives are needeed.
Its harvetst is also complicated, as it has to be done by hand, without the using of any machinery: that is why its production is difficult and very expensive, and that is why it is called "liquid gold"
It has been demonstrated that this oil posesses some antioxidant complex and that it contains three times the quantity of Vitamin E in respect to Extra virgin Olive Oil.
Very valuable in the kitchen, its aromas go from: mint, thyme, red fruits and rosemary; its flavour is a bit hot and sour.
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