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The Olive, History and Curiosities

Its origins

The origins of the olive tree go far back in history. It is an ancient tree whose cultivation extended widely throughout the Mediterranean area, covering Europe, Africa and Asia Minor, acquiring great importance for the Phoenician, Roman and Arab peoples. The expansion of its cultivation to America took place in the 16th century thanks to the Spanish colonizers.

The olive was initially used for oil extraction, however, there are references dating from the first century in which its direct consumption is already cited. This is the case of the famous writings of Columela where the writer from Cádiz collected different methods of preparing table olives: in brine, seasoned with fennel, with lentisk leaves and vinegar, etc.

Table olives have been an important food in the Mediterranean diet. In fact, it was a basic component in the daily livelihood of Andalusian and Extremaduran country laborers during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The industrial scale preparation of the first table olives in Spain, "Spanish or Sevillian style greens" began at the end of the 19th century in the province of Seville, in the towns of Dos Hermanas, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Morón and Arahal, among others.

Since then and until now, Spain has led the world markets, both in volume of production and marketing.

Some curiosities

The olive tree has a divine origin. According to Greek mythology, in the dispute between Pallas Athena and Poseidon for the patronage of Athens, Poseidon, at the stroke of a trident, created the horse, strong, fast and agile, while Pallas Athena with his spear sprouted the olive tree "... from which not only its fruits would be good to eat but that from them an extraordinary liquid would be obtained that would serve as food for men, rich in flavor and in energy, to relieve your wounds and give strength to your body, capable of giving flame to illuminate the nights ... ". The olive tree was most valued by the gods and Athena was chosen to give name to the incipient city.

The olive is one of the most versatile foods. Thanks to its profusion in forms of presentation, types and methods of elaboration, the offer of table olives is very wide: not pitted, pitted, sliced , wedged, halves; green, black, purple; dressed in Spanish or Sevillian style, in brine, dressed in endless ways: with oregano, thyme, garlic, orange, lemon, onion, etc ... and stuffed with anchovy, pepper, tuna, salmon, hazelnut, almond, onion, garlic, ham, and so on up to more than eighty different types of fillings.

Table olives combine the four basic flavors that the palate detects: acid, bitter, sweet and salty, which allows its use in any culinary recipe without any more limitation than imagination and the skills of the cook.