We love the delicious flavor and appreciate the many health benefits of olives. The majestic and beautiful trees that grow the hard, bitter fruit that become fermented olives have so many positive attributes:
1. LONGEVITY – Olive trees can live for thousands of years. There are many trees in the Mediterranean region that are scientifically verified to be as old as 2,000 years.
2. PROLIFIC – The olive tree starts bearing fruit at around 5 years of age. A tree in Croatia that is radiocarbon-dated to be 1,600 years old still produces abundant fruit today.
3. INDESTRUCTIBLE – The root system of the olive tree is so robust that it’s capable of regenerating itself even when the above-ground structure of the tree is destroyed by frost, fire or disease. In Tuscany in 1985 a severe frost destroyed many productive and aged olive trees, ruining the livelihoods of many farmers. However when new shoots appeared in the spring and the dead wood was removed, they soon became new fruit-producing trees.
4. UNPARCHABLE – Olive trees are drought friendly’ and just like eucalyptus trees do not need to be watered.
5. GENEROUS – Large olive trees produce on average about 400 pounds of olives annually. Older and larger trees can produce more. It’s estimated that there are about 865 million olive trees in the world today.
6. ANCIENT – The edible olive has been cultivated for at least 6,000 years. Lore has it that olives fell from trees into salt water on the banks of the Mediterranean where they and were discovered and eaten.
8. SACRED – Olive oil has long been considered sacred. The olive branch was often a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. The leafy branches of the olive tree were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures as emblems of benediction and purification, and they were used to crown the victors of both games and wars. Olive oil is still used today in many religious ceremonies. Over history, the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and purity.
9. HEALTHY – Olives are incredibly healthy fruit (yes, fruit—they are a distant cousin of the peach) containing antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber.
Olives are harvested from trees and must be vinegar or salt water brined, dry cured with oil or fermented before they can be edible.
Whether brined, cured or fermented olives are not only delicious but also fun to eat. Read about the numerous health benefits of olives by reading 10 Benefits of Eating Healthy Olives.