Olives are amazing. First cultivated in the countries we now call Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan, they spread throughout the Mediterranean, becoming a symbol of wealth, plenty and peace. The poet Homer called olive oil "liquid gold." In the Bible, it is the olive branch that the dove brings to Noah to symbolize the end of the flood. And since pre-Christian times, olives have been used in sacred ceremonies – the oil was used to anoint believers, for example. It was used by athletes too before sporting events.
For centuries, olive oil has been used as lamp fuel and to make high quality soap. And that's quite apart from its value as a super food. Today, olive oil is one of the main food exports from the Mediterranean region.
My Andalucian friends are olive growers, so I learned a lot about olives, olive oil, and why the sun-soaked Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Now I use olive oil in my kitchen all the time – and I feel healthier for it.
Click below for four stories from The Skanner News about The Amazing Olive: