Olives and Olive Oil

During Hanukah, Nefesh B’Nefesh arranged  a special Go North tiyul to Ein Dor, a kibbutz near Afulah where we learned about each other, the process of making olive oil and some local history.

In the first segment of the program, groups were formed by age – kids, teens and adults – and it allowed new olim a chance to share their experiences with each other.  We however, didn’t make it on time and missed that experience.   After lunch, which is when we arrived, it was time to learn about olive oil and how it is made.

Beit Baad - 1600 years old!

Learning about making olive oil the old fashioned way

The “beit baad” that was used was found locally some time ago and was said to be 1600 years old!

Working Hard

Everybody gets a chance to grind the olives

Everybody got a chance to get their hands dirty, or oily, in the process of making olive oil.   Seeing  the process first hand gave me a deeper appreciation for how it was made over the millennium, and the great efforts involved to produce something that we just grab off the grocrery store shelf.

Fill the baskets with crushed olives

Filling the baskets with crushed olives

After the olives were crushed in the beit baad, they were packed in woven baskets and stacked on the base of the vertical screw press, and then squeezed to extract the mixture.

Squeezing out the oil with teamwork and a vertical screw press

The mixture was then fed into a centrifuge with a steady flow of water and the oil got separated while the water was discharged.  As the oil was drizzeling out we got a chance to taste it or rub it on our hands. Delicious!

Olive oil

Finally - olive oil for tasting and rubbing

After the olive oil pressing demonstration, we split into two groups – taking turns at the museum to look at ancient pots, bowls, tools, etc. and  painting clay vessels and making necklaces out of olive wood.  A very fun and educational outing!

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