Olive

Botanical Name :Olea europea
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Olea
Species: O. europaea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name ::Olive
Habitat :Olive is  native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa.

Description:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub.  It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) in height. However, the Pisciottana, a unique variety comprising 40,000 trees found only in the area around Pisciotta in the Campania region of southern Italy often exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) with correspondingly large trunk diameters. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

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The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the previous year’s wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially.

Olea europaea contains a seed commonly referred to in American English as a pit or a rock, and in British English as a stone.
There are dozens of ancient olive trees throughout Israel and Palestine whose age has earlier been estimated to be 1,600–2,000 years old; however, these estimates could not be supported by current scientific practices. Ancient trees include two giant olive trees in Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, which have been determined to be over 3,000 years old,[35] although there is no available data to support the credibility of the study that produced these age estimates and as such the 3000 years age estimate can not be considered valid. All seven trees continue to produce olives. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words “gat shemanim” or olive press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the purported time of Jesus.

Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Roman times, although identifying progenitor trees in ancient sources is difficult. A tree located in Santu Baltolu di Carana (municipality of Luras) in Sardinia, Italy, named with respect as the Ozzastru by the inhabitants of the region, is claimed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old according to different studies.[citation needed] There are several other trees of about 1,000 years old within the same garden. The 15th-century trees of Olivo della Linza located in Alliste province of Lecce in Puglia were noted by Bishop Ludovico de Pennis during his pastoral visit to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli in 1452

Click to see :-
*Olive tree, Karystos, Euboia, Greece 
*Olive tree older than 1,500 years    
*An ancient olive tree in Pelion, Greece 
*Olive tree in Bar, Montenegro which is over 2,000 years old 

Subspecies:
There are six natural subspecies of Olea europaea distributed over a wide range:
*Olea europaea subsp. europaea (Mediterranean Basin)
*Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (from South Africa throughout East Africa, Arabia to South West China)
*Olea europaea subsp. guanchica (Canaries)
*Olea europaea subsp. cerasiformis (Madeira)
*Olea europaea subsp. maroccana Morocco
*Olea europaea subsp. laperrinei (Algeria, Sudan, Niger)

The subspecies maroccana and cerasiformis are respectively hexaploid and tetraploid

Cultivation: The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan.

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Farmers in ancient times believed that olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a certain distance from the sea; Theophrastus gives 300 stadia (55.6 km or 34.5 mi) as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, they have long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild.

Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters (Cwa). The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant but the fruit keeps its original features. The northernmost olive grove is placed in Anglesey, an island off the north west coast of Wales, in the United Kingdom: but it is too early to say if the growing will be successful, having been planted in 2006.

Edible Uses:  click to see
Olive oil for heart healthy foods is a monounsaturated oil that is widely used in healthy cooking, and as a salad dressing. Even the extremely conservative FDA allows suppliers of virgin olive oil to carry heart health claims on there consumer packaging. Some care must be taken to not expose virgin olive oil to high heat when cooking, as this can cause heat damage that break down the oil. Some in the health food community caution overheating causes olive oil to have harmful side effects. click to see
Traditional fermentation and curing:-
Green olives and black olives are typically washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a bitter glycoside.

Green olives are allowed to ferment before being packed in a brine solution. American black (“California”) olives are not fermented, which is why they taste milder than green olives.
click to see   an olive vat room used for curing.
In addition to oleuropein, freshly picked olives are not palatable because of phenolic compounds. (One exception is the throubes olive, which can be eaten fresh.) Traditional cures use the natural microflora on the fruit to aid in fermentation, which leads to three important outcomes: the leaching out and breakdown of oleuropein and phenolic compounds; the creation of lactic acid, which is a natural preservative; and a complex of flavoursome fermentation products. The result is a product which will store with or without refrigeration.

Curing can employ lye, salt, brine, or fresh water. Salt cured olives (also known as dry cured) are packed in plain salt for at least a month, which produces a salty and wrinkled olive. Brine cured olives are kept in a salt water solution for a few days or more. Fresh water cured olives are soaked in a succession of baths, changed daily.  Green olives are usually firmer than black olives.

Olives can also be flavoured by soaking in a marinade or pitted and stuffed. Popular flavourings include herbs, spices, olive oil, chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and juniper berries; popular stuffings include feta cheese, blue cheese, pimento, garlic cloves, jalapeños, almonds, and anchovies. Sometimes, the olives are lightly cracked with a hammer or a stone to trigger fermentation. This method of curing adds a slightly bitter taste

Medicinal Uses:
Beauty * Cancer Prevention * Cardiovascular * Culinary/Kitchen * Pain Relief * Skin Care
Properties: * AntiCancer * Antifungal * Antiscrofulous * Astringent * Cholagogue
Parts Used:  oil of the fruit, leaves, bark
Constituents:  oleuropein, flavonoids, and triterpenes

Olive oil is very stable in comparison with many other nut and vegetable oils and is often used to make medicinal  herbal oils using herbs such as comfrey, arnica, garlic and many others. Olive is more than just a stable base oil for making these oil infusions, it adds its own analgesic and antibacterial properties to the mix as well. 19

With evidence mounting about the damage of diets high saturated fats, and conversely the heart healthy benefits of monounsaturated oils like olive, it becomes abundantly clear which oils to choose for healthy cooking and salad dressings. If you cannot afford olive oil use canola or safflower oils, both of which are much better than the lower grade corn oils. 20

Extracts from the leaf of the olive tree are also used to lower fevers, and olive leaf poultices are among the oldest therapies for infections of the skin. The slender, feather shaped leaves have antimicrobial and antioxidant medicinal properties that kill germs and disinfect wounds. 21 Olive leaf extracts have also been studied for use in diabetes, and cancer prevention.

Other Uses:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail85.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olea_europea

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