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Olives and Olive Oil- Food in Italy and Around the World

Olive is a common name of a Mediterranean evergreen tree having fragrant white flowers, usually lance-shaped leathery leaves, and edible drupes. The Botanical name of olive is Oleaceae.
Olives are classified in the Division Magnoliophyta – Class Magnoliopsida – Order Scrophulariales – Family Oleaceae. Oleaceae is a family of trees that grow in warm temperate climates and of the Ancient World tropics, especially Asia and the East Indies.

Olives or Olive trees were believed to be grown on the island of Crete in 3500 BC. Semitic peoples were growing olives as early as 3000 BC. Olives were also cultivated by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greek mythology says that the olive was Athena’s gift to mankind, and Athens was named in her honor for this gift.

Now, olive trees are grown in areas of Italy, Australia, New Zealand, S Africa, Mexico, California- Eastern Michigan Region and Maritime parts of USA, Lebanon, and Northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea. Olive family (Oleaceae) comprises about 900 species in 24 genera of woody plants and trees.

The fruit of the olive trees is also called “olive.” Olives are small ovoid edible fruits. Full grown, but unripe olives picked for eating purposes. Green unripe olives are often pitted and stuffed with pimientos or anchovies. But ripe olives, usually turn purplish black, are richer in oil. The bitter quality of green and ripe olives is removed by treating them with lye; this removes oleuropein, a naturally bitter carbohydrate from olives. Olives are then packed in brine and can be eaten. Fresh olives are required to go thru this before they can be eaten. The wood of olive trees is hard and close-grained. Olive wood is often used cabinetwork and furniture.

Olives are an vital food and source of oil. Olive trees are mainly grown primarily for olives (fruits), olive oil. Olive oil is valued both for its distinctive taste, fragrance, and dietary benefits. My own favourite olives though come from Sicily in Italy, grown with the incredibly furtile volcanic soil on the Etna. The olives are extra bit tasty and juicy.

Several studies have revealed a number of health benefits of eating olives and olive oil. Olive leaves are used in several medicinal teas. Olive leaves have been reported beneficial in strengthening the immune system, increasing energy, having an internal cleansing action in body, acting as an anti-viral, vermifungal, anti-bacterial antioxidant, and lowering blood pressure, fats, and reducing blood sugar.

investsicily.com/food.htm” target=”_blank Italian food and cuisine.
maltainvest.com/food.htm” target=”_blank Malta and Maltese food and cuisine.



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