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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

Olives

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The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven. I can scarcely expect bread. Thomas Jefferson

By S Haslam

There is an ancient tale from Athens that the goddess Athena gained the protection of Athens from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. Olives belong to the class of fruit called drupes, or stone fruits, and are related to mangoes, cherries, peaches, almonds, and pistachios. 

Olives are known to be a good source of vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium. If they are stored in salty brine, they can also contain sodium, which, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is just what we need in these winter months to keep kidney energy balanced. 

As well, olives are rich in antioxidants, including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid, and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They are low in carbs but high in healthy fats. 

You can use some of the region’s locally-grown olives to throw in a pasta, perk up a Mediterranean dish, eat as a simple nibble warmed with a rosemary sprig… or you can whizz up a quick tapenade. 

In honour of Grumpy Grandma, Denise.

Tapenade recipe:

1 Cup pitted kalamata olives
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped herbs (try parsley, oregano, thyme, chilli or coriander to your liking) 

Combine olives, capers and garlic in a processor and chop finely. With motor running, gradually add lemon juice and oil, then herbs, and process until blended. Transfer tapenade to bowl. Season to taste with pepper. Tapenade can then be used as a dip, an addition to pasta, pizza, salads or spread on bread with tomato and/or cheese. 

The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven. I can scarcely expect bread. Thomas Jefferson

 


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