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Olive Fruit


Introduction of Olive Fruit

            Scientific name - Olea Europaea

Having its roots in the family Oleaceae, Olea Europea is a species of small tree found commonly in the region of Africa. Cultivated in many places, they are considered naturalized in Italy, France, Greece Lebanon and several other places. This evergreen tree very rarely exceeds 8-15 m (26-49 ft) in height and is indigenous to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. Short and squat, it contains silvery green leaves that are oblong and the trunk is characteristically contorted or twisted. It measures 4-10 cm (1.6-3.9 in) long and 1-3 cm (0.39-1.18 in) wide.

The fruit features a small drupe just about 12.5 cm (0.390.98 in) long, thin-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than orchard cultivars. Canned black olives, on the other hand, may contain chemicals (ferrous sulfate) that unnaturally turn them black; however, olives are harvested at its green to purple color changing stage. It contains a seed that is commonly referred to as a pit or a rock in American English and as a stone in British English.

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Nutritional Value of Olive Fruit


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 609 kJ (146 kcal)
Carbohydrates 3.84 g
Sugars 0.54 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 15.32 g
Saturated 2.029 g
Monounsaturated 11.314 g
Polyunsaturated 1.307 g
Protein 1.03 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv. beta-carotene lutein zeaxanthin (3%) 20 g (2%) 231 g 510 g
Thiamine (B1) (2%) 0.021 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (1%) 0.007 mg
Niacin (B3) (2%) 0.237 mg
Vitamin B6 (2%) 0.031 mg
Folate (B9) (1%) 3 g
Choline (3%) 14.2 mg
Vitamin E (25%) 3.81 mg
Vitamin K (1%) 1.4 g
Trace metals
Calcium (5%) 52 mg
Iron (4%) 0.49 mg
Magnesium (3%) 11 mg
Phosphorus (1%) 4 mg
Potassium (1%) 42 mg
Sodium (104%) 1556 mg

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Uses of Olive Fruit

The main reason behind the cultivation of Olea europaea is to enjoy its produces like olive oil, olive fruit, fine wood and olive leaf. The commercial importance of olive fruit is very high and seeing that the size of the tree is relatively small, olive wood and its products are quite expensive. The wood is used as decorative items, kitchen utensils, carved wooden bowls, cutting boards and fine furniture. With 90% of all yielded olives are turned into oil, only 10% are used as table olives. Having said all that, the olive wood is very hard and is valued for its durability, color, high combustion temperature and interesting grain patterns.

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Health Benefits of Olive Fruit

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Seeing that, olives contain significant amounts of plant-derived anti-oxidants, minerals, phyto-sterols, and vitamins, it helps in prevention of coronary artery disease and strokes by supporting healthy blood lipid profile. Mediterranean diet that includes usage of olive and its oil may be accountable in part for the lower incidences of coronary artery disease.

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Cultivation

Olive fruit cultivation begins with selecting the right type of tree. The most common cultivars used for olive production are the Spanish and Italian varieties, though other varieties are also grown. The trees must be planted in a sunny and well-drained area. The soil should be deep and loamy, with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. The trees should be planted at least 2.5 meters (8 feet) apart, with a minimum of three trees per hectare.

After planting, the trees must be pruned to encourage growth and fruit production. Pruning should be done at least once a year, and should include removing any dead or diseased branches. Pruning will also help control the shape of the tree, and will ensure that the tree is healthy and productive.

Once established, the olive trees need to be irrigated regularly. Irrigation should be done once every two weeks during the summer months, and once every month during the winter months. The amount of water should be adjusted according to the temperature, humidity and soil conditions. The olive trees should also be fertilized twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Harvesting the olives is done by hand at the end of the summer. The olives should be harvested when they are ripe, but before they start to turn black. The olives should be picked carefully to avoid damage to the fruit. After harvesting, the olives must be cured before they can be used for oil or eaten. Curing involves soaking the olives in brine or storing them in a cool, dark place for several weeks.

Olive fruit cultivation is a labor-intensive process, but it can be a rewarding one. The olives produced can be used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes, and the oil can be used for cooking, as a seasoning, and for a variety of other uses. Olives can also be sold for a profit, making olive cultivation a potentially lucrative endeavor.

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Pruning

Pruning is an important part of olive fruit tree management. Pruning is the practice of removing or cutting back parts of the tree to enhance its structure or shape, to remove diseased or dead wood, and to stimulate new growth and fruit production. Pruning is typically done at the end of winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant and not actively growing.

The objectives of pruning olive trees are to improve fruit quality and quantity, to maintain tree health and vigor, to promote tree growth, and to create a more aesthetically pleasing tree. The pruning process involves removing dead and diseased branches, as well as select branches that are overcrowded or interfering with the shape of the tree. Pruning also helps to improve air circulation and light penetration in the tree canopy, which helps reduce the risk of disease.

When pruning an olive tree, it is important to take into account the characteristics of the tree and the objectives of the pruning. Depending on the pruning objective, different types of pruning can be used. Thinning is used to reduce the overall density of the tree canopy and promote better air circulation. Heading back, or cutting back the longest branches, is used to control size and promote a denser canopy. Selective pruning is used to remove overly vigorous branches or branches that are interfering with the tree structure.

When pruning, it is important to use the correct tools and make clean, precise cuts. Pruning tools should be sharp and make clean, smooth cuts. It is important to avoid leaving stubs or making jagged cuts, which can lead to disease. It is also important to remove branches at their point of origin and to make sure that the cuts are angled away from the center of the tree.

Pruning is an important part of olive fruit tree management. It helps to improve fruit quality and quantity, to maintain tree health and vigor, to promote tree growth, and to create a more aesthetically pleasing tree. When pruning an olive tree, it is important to take into account the characteristics of the tree and the objectives of the pruning, as well as to use the correct tools and make clean, precise cuts. Pruning is best done in the late winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant and not actively growing.

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Propagation

Olive fruit propagation is a method of reproduction that involves the reproduction and cultivation of olive trees. The process of propagating olives involves either planting a new tree from an existing branch or cutting or budding a tree from an existing olive tree.

When propagating olives, it is important to consider the climate and soil conditions that the tree will be grown in. Olive trees are adapted to warm and dry climates, so it is important to select a site that has good drainage and a soil that is not too wet or too dry. Additionally, the tree should receive full sun for at least six hours a day.

When propagating olives, it is best to choose a healthy and disease-free branch or cutting. The cutting should be taken from the tree in late winter or early spring when the tree is in its dormant stage. The branch should be cut at a 45-degree angle and the cut end should be treated with rooting hormone to encourage root growth. Then, the branch should be planted in a pot filled with a well-draining soil mix.

Once planted, the cutting should be kept moist, but not overly wet, and should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks. The cutting should be monitored closely for signs of root and stem growth, and once the roots and stem have established, the cutting should be transplanted into the ground.

Once the olive tree is established, it should be pruned regularly to encourage healthy growth and production. Additionally, the tree should be watered deeply when needed and fertilized on a regular basis. With proper care and maintenance, a propagated olive tree can produce fruit for many years.

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Harvesting

Olive harvesting is the process of removing olive fruits from the tree to obtain the olives for consumption or processing into olive oil. Olives are usually harvested by hand using rakes or other tools to shake the branches and dislodge the fruits. Hand harvesting is labor-intensive and time consuming, though it is the most common method still used in the Mediterranean countries.

The harvesting season typically begins in late September or early October and lasts through the end of December. Olives are harvested when they are mature and green or when they have just begun to turn black. Olives that are harvested too early will not have enough oil content and olives that are harvested too late will be overripe and have a bitter taste.

The olives are then graded for quality and size. The highest quality olives will be larger and have a higher oil content. The olives are then placed into baskets or sacks for transport to the press for processing.

In mechanized harvesting, a machine is used that is similar to a large vacuum cleaner. It has a rotating brush that removes the olives from the tree and deposits them into a box below. This method is less labor-intensive and much faster than hand harvesting, but it is also more expensive and can damage the trees if not done correctly.

Olive harvesting is a labor-intensive job, but it is essential for the production of quality olives and olive oil. The process is centuries old, and it is still the most common method used in the Mediterranean countries. The olives are harvested when they are mature and green or just beginning to turn black, and then graded for quality and size before being transported to the press for processing.

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