Olives are one of the most popular Spanish foods, ideal to add to any appetizer or salad.
However, despite being such a widespread food and used in so many recipes, olives hide many curiosities that you did not know about. In this article we will reveal 7 interesting facts about olives.
1 Olives are fruits
What are olives? Fruits? Vegetables? Surely you have ever asked yourself this question.
The truth is that for a food to be considered a vegetable, its stem or its leaves should be edible. But this is not the case with olives.
On the other hand, the fruit is the edible part of a plantation or a tree that surrounds the seed. This definition of fruit fits perfectly with what an olive is. Therefore, olives are categorized as fruits and not as vegetables.
2 Olive trees are millenarian
Although its growth is slow, an olive tree can live thousands of years. To date, there are more than 800 million olive trees planted around the world.
The long-lived olive tree in the world is found on the island of Crete and is around 4000 years old. And it still bear fruit!
3 The color of the olives depends on their maturation
Although there are different varieties of olive trees, they always produce green olives. So, why are there black or violet olives?
The color of the olive is very related to their maturation. Depending on when the olives are picked, they will have one color or another.
They will be green when picked at the optimum moment of maturation. But when the olive has fully matured in the tree, it is when it acquires those darker tones.
4 Olive oils have to be treated
This is bad news, but you must resist the temptation and avoid eating olives directly from the tree. Raw olives are not edible and should be treated before they can be consumed.
The compound that makes olives not edible is oleuropein. This substance gives the olive a very bitter taste that is unpleasant to our palate. For this reason, the olives must undergo a process of sweetening before being able to enjoy them.
5 Spain is the largest producer of olives in the world
If you were wondering why Spanish olives were so tasty, the answer is that Spain has a great climate to produce olives. In addition, Spain has a long tradition in the manufacture of this delicious fruit.
During the time of the Roman Empire, the consumption of olive oil spread quickly and the Spanish region we now know as Andalusia, was the main producing area of the entire Empire. Once the Roman Empire fell, the production and commercialization of olive oil and olives lasted through the centuries to this day.
6 In the olives, you can find 4 of the basic flavors
Olives have a very compete spectrum of flavors. In them you can distinguish sweet, salty, acid and bitter flavors.
For this reason, olives are so versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes as they complement perfectly with other foods.
7 Olive oil is excellent for the skin
Olive oil is a product widely used in the cosmetic industry for its revitalizing and nourishing properties for the skin.
In ancient Rome, women already applied olive oil to their skin and hair after bathing. Thus they managed to protect their skin and hair from the sun and daily wear, and at the same time, they obtained a very pleasant fragrance.
Now you know better this spectacular fruit that plays a fundamental role in our Mediterranean Diet. And thanks to this gastronomic culture, we can enjoy different varieties of olives. All of them delicious.
And if you like to experiment in the kitchen, you can also try our olive pates in all varieties: