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History Of Olive Trees
Olive trees, ‘Olea europaea’, are the oldest fruit trees and certainly one of the most important trees in history. The culture of the olive tree is closely related to the rise and fall of Mediterranean empires and other advanced civilizations throughout the ages. As olive trees provided wealth and future food supplies to established civilizations, agricultural nations became stable societies, based on a secure expectation from past experience of an uninterrupted food and olive oil supply. This factor was necessary for the growth and increase of the population. Reliable fruit production and olive oil production means that olive trees must exist in a stable society and a stable environment. That stability must last many years, as most old olive trees need eight or more years before they bear their first fruit.
Prolific orchards of olive trees meant that the foundation of the great empires of Greece and Rome had grown into complex economic and political powers. It is worth noting that the historical decline of these empires is associated with the destruction of their olive groves, which reduced the supply of olives, olive oil, olive wood and olive soap. Regarding the destruction of olive groves, it is interesting that 50 thousand olive trees were destroyed by Israeli bulldozers during the war between Israel and Palestine. The act of destroying the farm caused great anger and discomfort throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as the livelihood of many Palestinian farmers depends on their crops harvested from olive trees. In addition, the olive tree was historically a symbol of ‘peace and humility’, and when olive trees were planted near the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the “History of the Bible”, the removal of olive trees seemed like a goal. a provocation to end ‘peace’ with Palestinian settlers and farmers.
The medicinal properties of olive oil were reported by many ancient Greek writers and philosophers, their importance in creating nutritional benefits and wealth for Greek citizens continues to be widespread today – some Greek olive groves contain a million or more trees. Aristotle wrote extensively about the accepted methods of successfully growing olive trees.
Greek mythology states that Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and peace, thrust her magic spear into the Earth, and it became an olive tree, thus, the place where the olive tree appeared and grew was named in honor of Athena, Greece. was done Goddess, Athena. Local legend tells us that the original olive tree still grows on the ancient holy site after many centuries. Locals still claim that all Greek olive trees came from root cuttings planted from that original olive tree. Homer claimed in his writings that the ancient olive tree that grows in Athens is already 10,000 years old. Homer explained that the Greek courts gave the death penalty if an olive tree was destroyed. In 775 BC Olympia, Greece, on the site of the ancient Olympic stadium, athletes competed and trained, and the winners were celebrated with a crown made of olive branches. Ancient gold coins minted in Athens show the face of the Goddess Athena wearing an olive leaf crown on her helmet and holding a jar of olive oil. The Greeks started cultivating olives in 700 BC.
The sacred lamp used in ancient Greek culture to illuminate dark rooms at night was burned with olive oil. In the holy anointing rituals of the church, olive oil was also used in weddings and baptisms. Herodotus wrote in 500 BC that growing and exporting olives and olive oil was so sacred that only girls were allowed to plant olive groves. The first documented cultivation of olive trees may have occurred during the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete and is believed to have grown around 3500 BC. That civilization predates the Mycenae olive fossils that have been discovered since 1600 BC and later in the Greek empire. Cornell University archaeologist Sturt Manning reported in Live Science Magazine (April 28, 2005) that the most destructive volcano in 10,000 years occurred on the Greek island of Thera, after the city of Akrotiri was completely buried by a landslide. The discovery of an olive tree and olive seed fossils buried near the site, carbon dating has shown that a volcanic eruption occurred between 1660 and 1600 BC and may have caused the complete destruction of the advanced Minoan civilization (Atlantis) on the island of Crete and may have led to the formation of the Sahara desert in North Africa after the evaporation of native forests there.
The fragrant flowers of olive trees are small and white, hidden in thick leaves. Some flowers will self-rep, but others will not. Flowering usually begins in April and can last for several months. A wild olive tree, the seedling usually begins to flower and bear fruit at 8 years of age. The fruit of the olive tree is purple-black when fully ripe, but a few flowers are green when ripe, and some olives turn a coppery-brown color. The size of the olive fruit is variable, even on the same tree, and its shape varies from round to oval with a pointed tip. Some olives can be eaten fresh after sun-drying and have a sweet taste, but most olive cultivars are bitter and must be treated with various chemical solutions before they become edible olives. If the olives on the stems of the trees are thinned 2 or 3 per plant, the final size of the olives will be much larger. The fruit is harvested in mid-October and must be stored as soon as possible to prevent fermentation and loss of quality.
The leaves of olive trees are green-gray and are replaced in the spring after new growth appears at intervals of 2-3 years. Annual and intensive pruning is very important to ensure continuous production. Unfruitful limbs are removed from the tree, “that it may be more fruitful” John 15:2. An olive tree can grow up to 50 feet tall with a 30 foot spread, but most growers will plant the tree at 20 feet to ensure maximum production. New shoots and trees will grow from the roots of the olive tree, until the trees are cut down. Some olive trees are believed to be over a thousand years old, and most will live up to 500 years of age.
Olives are usually picked from the trees with poles, harvested mechanically or by shaking the fruit from the trees on a threshing floor. Most ripe olives are removed from the trees after most of the fruit begins to change color. It is important to squeeze the olive oil within a day of harvesting, otherwise fermentation or loss of flavor and quality will occur. Olive oil can be consumed immediately after harvesting or used in cooking. Olive oils are unique and different, each brand of olive oil has its own character, as determined by many factors, such as the unique flavor differences found in fine wines. Commercially prepared olive oils can vary greatly in aroma, fruity taste; whether it tastes rosey, nutty, delicate or soft, the color of olive oil is very variable.
Olive oil provides many health benefits when used in cooking or when drizzled over salads. The use of olive oil with its low cholesterol content can improve digestion and can benefit the metabolism of the heart. Experts claim that drinking olive oil will make hair shiny, prevent acne, prevent wrinkles, prevent dry skin and acne, strengthen nails, relieve muscle pain, lower blood pressure and the effects of alcohol. remove it
Olive trees can survive drought and strong winds, and they grow well on well-draining soils up to a pH of 8.5 and the trees can tolerate saltwater conditions. In Europe, olive trees are usually fertilized with an organic fertilizer every year. Alternate bearing can be avoided by heavy pruning and trees usually respond very quickly and well to this.
Olive trees that have been propagated or tamed should be purchased, as the trees that produce seed will revert to a wild type that produces small olives with a perfect flavor. Olive trees are more resistant to diseases and pests than any other fruit tree and therefore are sprayed less than any other crop.
Although the commercial production of olives in the United States is only 2% of the world market, great interest in growing olives throughout the South has been stimulated by the recent introduction of cold hardy olive trees from European hybridizers. Many European immigrants to the United States grow their own olive trees in large pots, which can be moved in and out of the house during seasonal changes.
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