Posted on Mar 13, 2022 210
The European olive is an evergreen tree that is native to the southeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The olive was domesticated in Ancient Greece several thousand years ago, nowadays it is no longer found in the wild. People have spread the olive around the world, plantations can be seen not only in the Mediterranean countries but also in the Caucasus, China, India, as well as in the U.S., Mexico, Peru, Argentina. Over the ocean olive tree was introduced by Europeans in the 16th century and became widespread there.
Average life expectancy of the tree from 300 to 500 years, but there are real long-livers, whose age exceeds 2,000 years. The height of the olive tree is sometimes 15 meters, from one tree can collect up to 100 kilograms of fruit. However, from flowering to harvesting takes a long time - 6-8 months. In Europe alone there are up to 500,000 trees. Interestingly, the plant can tolerate both drought and frosts up to 10 degrees.
Many people ask - what is the difference between olives? After all, they are very different. In fact, they are the fruit of the same tree, a black color they gain during processing.Fruits just picked from the tree are not suitable for food, they have too bitter a taste. To get on the shelves in stores, and then on the table, they go through a process of canning.
But, 90% of all harvested olives are used to produce olive oil, which for the ancient Greeks was one of the most important export items. Its advantage is that even without preservation the oil can be stored for a long time, so, from Ancient Greece it could be exported to other countries. Nowadays a significant part of olive oil is counterfeit, in which cheaters add cheaper varieties.
The ancient Greeks believed that the first olive tree was given to people by the goddess Athena. According to the legend, she stuck her spear into the ground from which the tree grew. The participants of the Olympic Games rubbed the bodies with the oil, which, in their opinion, not only gave them strength and endurance but also good luck in the competitions. By the way, the benefits of olive oil wrote the famous physician of ancient Hippocrates. Along the road that led to Olympia were olive trees.
In 2004 the Summer Olympics were held in their historical homeland - Greece. During the construction of the equestrian center the organizers faced a problem - there were olive trees, over 500 years old. A “straw solution” was adopted - the trees were carefully pulled out of the ground and planted next to the complex.
The first harvest from the olive tree had to wait almost ten years. As many centuries ago, most of the olives are gathered by hand. 3 to 5 kilograms of fruit are needed for one liter of oil. Harvested olives spoiled quickly, so, to process them must be within 24 hours. Top quality oil is got only in the process of cold pressing, in which raw materials are not heated above a temperature of 27 degrees.
Olives contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, many vitamins, as well as: calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, manganese. Nutritionists recommend consuming a few fruits daily on an empty stomach or drink a teaspoon of olive oil to lose weight. In addition, regular consumption of olives reduces cholesterol levels, prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases.
The ancient Greeks could not imagine life without olives and olive oil. But now the world leader in the production of olives is Spain, whose share of global production is almost forty percent.
Olive branch is considered a symbol of peace. It was this branch that the dove carried in his beak to Noah; it was a sign that the World Flood had stopped. The World Congress of the Supporters of Peace was created in April 1949. The author of the emblem of the Congress was the artist Pablo Picasso. It also depicts a white dove carrying an olive branch.
At the 1903 world championship in French wrestling, which was held in Paris, Ivan Poddubny and Raoul de Buchet met. To the surprise of the audience Raoul easily escaped the powerful grip of Poddubny. Before the fight, he went for a trick - he lubricated his torso with olive oil. The decision of the judges was unexpected: the cheater was declared the winner because he “beautifully avoided tricks”.