It is believed that the cultivation of the olive grove goes back thousands of years. Throughout history people have been very fond of this naturally inedible fruit. To get any benefit from them they need to be processed which is time consuming. They can either be pickled in brine for eating or pressed for their oil. They have been used for many purposes over the years, let’s take a look at just some of them.

Snacks and Appetizers –  For this purpose they need to go through a long process of brining to remove the bitterness of the olive. At the same time, flavouring can be added. The array of olives available is amazing. Most people store them in cans in their pantry, some people like to select them in the delicatessen whilst others like to buy them made with love in small batches by companies such as Saba Habib who has been growing them round the Sea of Galilee for generations.

Beauty Products –  It is well documented that people have used olive oil based products on their skin or hair. The most well known historical personality was Cleopatra. The oil is filled with vitamins and antioxidants which are great for caring and moisturizing the skin. It can also provide relief from sunburn. There are an increasing number of companies who are manufacturing natural olive based beauty products for those who wish to move away from chemically formulated cosmetics.

Olive Oil for Food – Considered to be one of the healthier oils, it can be used as part of a salad dressing, drizzled on houmous, or used for cooking. It has a richer, more distinctive flavour than most oils. There are many different grades of olive oil, extra virgin oil is the purest and considered the best to use.

Garnish – Cooking is about color and texture. Olives come in a range of blacks, browns and greens and can be used raw to sprinkle on salads, placed into mediterranean dishes and of course sprinkled on pizza!

Fuel – Though not used regularly any more, olive oil is a traditional fuel for illumination. Many of the little clay oil lamps that have been dug up by archeologists would have used olive oil as their fuel. It does not produce a foul odor like some other fuels and produces a pure light.

Everyone has their favorite recipe that uses olives and their favorite variety of olive, there are so many to choose from! Many people swear by the effects of their olive oil based beauty products. There is even a growing number of olive oil connoisseurs, who like to bestow compliments on varieties of olive oil. How do you love your olives?