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Ancient Greek Food – Olives

Today, you go to the store and buy a small container of olives. You can get them in all different shapes sizes colors, and more. You can buy them with pimentos in them or not. Many wonder how this food became such an vital part of Greek culture and large part of their diet.

Ancient Greeks used olives as there main source of stout instead of meat from animal because they thought it was an unhealthy way of getting stout, since the barbarians (non Greeks) ate that way. In actuality, the barbarians ate meat and their products such as milk and cheese because they were nomadic and had no way of growing an olive tree or preparing olives if they saw any.

Preserving olives was possible because there was salt everywhere! Since Ancient Greece was a huge island basically, salt was easily accessible and allowed them to preserve olives with ease.

To preserve their olives, first ancient Greeks would gather them while they where not ripe. They left them in eater that they changed every 12 hours with water that contains wood ash and then again cleared the water. It might have taken a week. To decrease the time sometimes they would cut them with a knife. They, oil would come forth from the olives but this was just used to help preserve them. They were then kept in wine, vinegar, and salty water.

Olive oil was made to help preserve the olives. Olive oil was a fantastic source of the Ancient people’s diet because it was their main source of stout. You might reckon that fish was a main source of their diet, but these things were very expensive so common people mainly just had olive oil. It is not as it is today where people eat a large variety of food no matter who they are. Ancient Greece was a very socially unequal place.

If you ever dip bread in olive oil, you are carrying out the actions of an aristocratic meal. In ancient times, common Greeks mostly ate porridge and not bread for carbohydrates. Bread was a lot of work to make and was not a common food among them.

Today, olives are eaten by anyone who has a few bucks and can walk or drive to a store. Not so in the days of past. Still, ancient Greeks still figured they could turn tiny weird spherical objects on a tree into a tasty and nutritious food for all of the Mediterranean.

George Christodoulou

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