Olive is a fruit. Olive tree is a slow growing, evergreen tree with gnarled trunk with grey, fissured branches and foliage of gray-green, fleshy, narrow leaves. It may reach up to 50 feet in height in their natural habitat and live for more than 500 years. It grows well in frost free, dry, and well-drained soils. It starts bearing fruits when the plant reaches about 3-4 years of age, however, some cultivars may take much longer time before their first harvest. The tree blooms in the spring which subsequently develops into small round to oval green color berries by summer.
Olive is a drupe or stone-fruit with a central single seed
, surrounded by edible pulp. Their size and shape greatly varies depending on the cultivar type. On an average, a fruit weighs about 3-5 g. Raw fruits are green, which turn yellow to dark as it ripens further
. Its fruits are generally picked at stages, whether they destined to be used as table fruits or pressed for oil
Raw olives are incredibly bitter, so once harvested they are cured and then usually preserved in salt
. The small, oval olive fruit has a flavour
ranging from salty to mild and sweet. It can be harvested at any stage – the immature fruit is green; it turns red-brown and then black when fully ripened – which accounts in part for the variation in flavour.
Varieties and Preparation:
The versatile olive fruit can be eaten as an appetiser, either on its own or stuffed, or used as a cooking ingredient, and is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine.
Originating from and named after the region of Kalamata in Greece, this olive is a black, medium-sized fruit with a sal
ty flavour, and is probably the most popular olive in Australia.
A small black French olive, the Nicoise has a nutty flavour and is traditionally used in the salad of the same name.
A small oily Italian black olive with a mild flavour, the Ligurian olive is a good addition to fish
A paste made from black olives, olive oil, capers
and lemon juice
, olive tapenade is used as an addition to a variety of recipes such as appetisers, sandwiches pizzas and pasta dishes.
Made using green olives, which are larger, firmer and easier to pit than black varieties, stuffed olives commonly contain such flavours as capers, nuts
6. MarinatedHealth Benefits of Olive:
Olives have been viewed as very healthy food. The fruit provides calories; contain significant amounts of plant-derived anti-oxidants, minerals, phyto-sterols, and vitamins
Olives are a moderate source of calories; 100 g of fruits provide just 115 calories. Their calorie content basically comes from fats. Nonetheless, the fruit composes healthy fat
in the form of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid (18:1) and palmitoleic acid (16:1) that help lower LDL or "bad cholesterol
" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
Olive fruit contains tyrosol phenolic compounds such as oleuropein and oleocanthal. These compounds are responsible for its bitter and pungent taste. Oleocanthal, oleurpein, and its derivative hydroxytyrosol are nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants
. Together with vitamin E
and carotenoids, they play a vital role fighting against cancer, inflammation, coronary artery disease, degenerative nerve diseases, diabetes…etc.
Studies suggest that oleocanthal has ibuprofen
(NSAID) like ant-inflammatory activities. Mediterranean diet that uses olive and its oil may be responsible in part for the lower incidences of coronary artery disease.Olive contains a good amount of vitamin E.
100 g cured, and canned fruits provide 1.65 mg (11% of RDA) of a-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
In addition, the fruits contain good amounts of minerals like calcium, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc
. Further, they are small sources of B-complex vitamins
such as niacin
, choline, and pantothenic acid.
Oil expressed from these fruits is recognized as one of the healthiest edible oils since it contains less saturated fat, and composes linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids at the recommended 8:1 ratio.
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