Experiencing the Wondrous Journey of "A Drop of Oil": International Friends Explore the Mountain Song and Peanut Culture Integrated Research and Practice Base



China boasts a long history of oil pressing, with a deep-rooted oil culture emerging early on. Recently, as part of the "Hospitality Shandong, Quality Shandong" event under the "Perceive Shandong" initiative, foreign friends visited the Mountain Song Peanut Culture Integrated Research and Practice Base in Laiwu District, Jinan City. Here, international students from Shandong Normal University, representing eight countries, learned about the development of China's oil-pressing industry.

Shandong is a major peanut-producing province that produces about half of China's peanut oil production. Laiwu, with its moist climate and abundant specialties, boasts superior-quality oil crops and considerable yields. Within the Mountain Song Peanut Culture Integrated Research and Practice Base, the Mountain Song Oil Pressing Museum stands as China's first physical oil pressing museum, covering an area of over 3000 square meters. It primarily traces China's long-standing oil pressing culture, focusing on the evolution of oil crops, changes in oil pressing techniques, and shifts in oil utilization.

Upon entering the museum, scenes of oil pressing from ancient to modern times vividly unfold before visitors' eyes. A traditional dwelling, an oil mill, a set of simple ancient double stoves, a grinding disc, a large wooden pressing trough, and a suspended oil hammer constitute the original oil pressing workshop. Though these ancient techniques have gradually faded, one can witness the legacy of generations of artisans here. In 2016, the "Traditional Fragrant Edible Oil Production Technique" was recognized as a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Shandong Province. Today, Shandong Mountain Song Food Technology Co., Ltd. adheres to traditional pressing techniques, preserving over 30 complete tools and processes for manual oil pressing, earning the title of a "living fossil" of traditional manual oil pressing techniques.

Peeling, sorting, grinding, steaming, frying, wrapping, pressing, filtering, settling... International students experienced the fragrant oil pressing process in the oil pressing experience hall, witnessing the transformation from a peanut to golden peanut oil and appreciating the diligence and wisdom of ancient Chinese laborers.

"This is my first time experiencing oil pressing. I never imagined that what seems like a simple process of producing peanut oil requires so many steps. Moreover, China mastered the art of oil pressing in ancient times, which is truly remarkable. This experience has given me a deeper understanding of China," said NATO JOAN CHEPKURUI, an international student from Kenya.

(Li Xiaotong; Gong Lili; Hua Shan; Yuan Yuhua; Hou Yawen; Liu Xiaohan; Lou Xinyu; Yang Yang; Chong Yaqi; Yuan Yaning; Xu Jiayi; Liu Lu; Li Jiayin; Han Wenzhi; Wang Xi; Wang Yuquan; Zhou Yiru; Zhang Juanyi;Zhang Kaiyang; Zhou Nan; Zhang Xun; Liu Qianying; Chen Zeyu; Li Ziyue)

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