Olives are good in so many ways!
At Papadeli, we love olives, of all types, and are mesmerised firstly by their flavour, but also by their history and health giving benefits.
16 olives count as one of your five a day! Too bitter to be eaten off the tree, they are usually cured in brine or olive oil. The olives have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and contain hydroxytyrosol, a phytronutrient which is linked to cancer prevention. They also contain calcium, which helps with bone loss. They contain vitamin E, copper , iron and zinc which have a variety of health benefits, including helping skin elasticity and boosting immunity. Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils, being low in saturated fat and bring us a good amount of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. Even the olive leaf is beneficial, and can be eaten (or taken in tablet form) in order to boost energy levels.
The olive tree lives for 300-600 years, and were originally cultivated in the Middle East. Carbon dating in Spain dates the olive tree back to 6-8,000 years ago. Olives were found n Egyptian tombs from 2000 years BC. They soon spread around Europe, thanks to the Romans as they spread their domain.
The good news is that despite our less than Mediterranean climate, we can grow olive trees in the UK. They should be grown in a warm, sunny spot, by a sunny wall, for example. They will not tolerate freezing temperatures of -10C and so should be protected if this happens. They can cope with dry conditions but if you want fruit, they should be watered frequently. These wonderful trees only flower after four years and aren’t normally harvested until the 15th year!
So as well as many health benefits, they clearly promote the need for patience and perhaps also mindfulness!