Six Interesting Facts About Olives

Chefpanzee Blog

BY Indu Sudhakar

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#1. Olives aren’t exactly what you think they are

Although commonly regarded as vegetables, olives are technically classified as fruits! Even more strangely, olives are part of the same family as lilacs & jasmine.

#2. The olive game is a marathon, not a sprint

The average olive tree blooms after 4 years, but the first harvest doesn’t come for at least 15 years! Luckily, olive plants & trees can live for thousands of years, with the average lifespan of 300 to 600 years.

#3. It’s all about the oil

Only ~10% of olives are harvested for table olives. The remaining 90% of olives are used to produce olive oil. In fact, it takes ~7 liters of olives to produce a singular liter of olive oil.

#4. Olives were the original measuring spoon

Olives inspired an ancient unit of measurement called a “k’zayit,” which literally translates to “like an olive.” It is still used to calculate the amount of foods like challah, wine & matzah in Jewish traditions, using the size of an olive as a reference.

#5. …and the original anti-aging cream

Olives can help preserve youthful appearances! Studies show that eating olives improves the appearance of wrinkle by 20% due to the oleic acid they contain. In fact, ancient Greeks were said to lather their bodies & hair with olive oil in an attempt to promote better health & grooming.

#6. Olives have signified peace for a long time

The expression to “extend an olive branch” is a biblical reference derived from the Book of Genesis. Following the flood, Noah sent a dove from the Ark to circle the earth and find out if the flood had passed. The bird returned with an olive branch, symbolizing that plants were growing & thriving once again. Ever since, olives have symbolized the hope for a peaceful future.

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