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Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Wild olives were collected by Neolithic peoples around the Mediterranean as early as the 8th millennium BC,  It is not clear when and where olive trees were first domesticated.

Olives appeared in one of the earliest cookbooks ever discovered. This was a text written by a Roman gourmet named Apicius in the first century A.D.

The fruit of an Olive Tree by the Dead Sea in Jordan. Nick Fraser Wikipedia

The average life of an olive tree is between 300 and 600 years, but they can live for more than 1,500 years.

An olive tree on the island of Brijuni (Brioni), Istria in Croatia, is said to be about 1,600 years old. It still gives fruit (about 30 kg or 66 lb per year), which is made into top quality olive oil.

Branches from a 3,000 year old, still living, Greek olive tree were used to weave victors' wreaths for the winners of the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The olive tree grows to a maximum of 50 feet tall.

The olive flower is white and only flowers after four years.

Olive trees take a very long time to bear fruit. They are generally harvested for the first time after around 15 years.

It was the Phoenicians who first brought the olive tree to Spain, but the Ancient Romans are credited with establishing vast farms of olives, often owned by absentee landlords who lived back in Rome.

Storing olives on Dere Street; Tacuinum Sanitatis, 14th century,

In 2011 there were about 9.6 million hectares planted with olive trees. Only coconut trees and oil palms command more space.

The ten largest producing countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, are all located in the Mediterranean region and produce 95% of the world's olives. In 2011 Spain produced just under 40% of the total.

Olive plantation in Andalucía, Spain

The olive garnish is what makes the Martini Cocktail, shaken or stirred.

For thousands of years the olive branch has been used as a sign of peace and goodwill and ancient Greek brides wore or carried an olive wreath.

In Christianity, too, the olive branch is seen as a symbol of peace, dating back to the Old Testament where a dove brought an olive branch to Noah to show that the flood was over.

The term “to extend an olive branch” means an offer of peace or reconciliation.

Cats love green kalamata olives. They contain a compound similar to that in catnip.


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