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Elia1The olive tree is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Olives were one of the seven species found in Israel in Biblical times. They are also mentioned many times in Ancient Greek literature. According to Greek myth, the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena to the city of Athens. This sacred olive tree lived in the Erechtheum, a temple on the Acropolis. The best locations for growing olive trees, surround the Mediterranean basin. Greece, Italy and Spain are the largest producers of olives for domestic use and export. Here are some fun facts for olive trees:

  • Olive trees are harvested for the first time after 15 years.

  • It takes seven litres of olives to make one litre of olive oil.

  • People around the world consume 2.25 million liters of olive oil each year. This oil is much healthier and has more delicate flavor compared to the regular vegetable oils.

  • The average life of an olive tree is between 300 and 600 years. One of oldest olive trees in the world is on the island of Crete. The tree is about 4,000 years old and is still producing fruit.

  • Olives are rich in Vitamin E and ‘good fat’.

  • The olive branch is a symbol of peace. People used olive branches through history to declare truce by giving it to their enemies. Olive branches were also used for crowning of the champions on the Olympic Games in the past. This tradition was revived during the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Olives also represent wisdom.

  • Olives must be processed to remove the bitter glucoside oleuropein, before they are edible, so they are usually first treated with lye and then pickled.

  • The first eye shadow was created in Ancient Greece by mixing ground charcoal with olive oil.

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