It is established that in the world there are more than 600 varieties of olives. They vary depending on the characteristics of the trees, their leaves, the soil on which they grow, and their geographical location.
These mighty giants are an integral part of the Cypriot landscape. Incidentally, even a pigeon placed on the coat of arms of Cyprus bears in its beak an olive branch representing the symbol of peace. As the Bible testifies , the dove that brought Noah an olive branch from the Most High, became a sign that God had replaced anger with mercy, and the global flood had stopped. The olive tree was the first to grow after the flood, and its branch since that time has been a symbol of peace between man and God. Olive trees grow long enough, while some of them can live to 2.5 thousand years. According to folk lore, with those who consume the fruits, the tree “shares” its vitality and endurance. And if we talk about Cypriots, then probably this is true. No wonder they have long been considered long-lived, and even now the average life expectancy in Cyprus exceeds the average European and world figures. It is known that in Cyprus olives were grown in the XII century BC. e. In the medieval era, olive trees were the most common crop on the island. At the same time, wild olives dominated the island for a long time, and only in the early twentieth century the British, who owned Cyprus at that time, created 6 nurseries, which made it possible to significantly increase the production of cultivated varieties of olives. Now on the island grows more than 2.5 million olives, of which about 80% are cultivated varieties, which makes it possible for Cyprus to enter the first “twenty” countries in terms of the number of olive trees. In total, about 10 thousand tons of olives are harvested on the island annually.
Experts say that olives have almost all the vitamins and microelements necessary for a person. Crude fruit pulp contains up to 80% non-drying oil, which consists of unsaturated fatty acids that are unique in their properties. Unlike animal fats, they are not only not harmful, but they bring considerable benefits to the body – they prevent the development of atherosclerosis, heart disease and blood vessels, do not contain and contribute to the elimination of cholesterol, and have a beneficial effect on the digestive organs.
How to collect olives?
It is best to collect olives by hand. And this should be done with great care so as not to damage the fruit. Now used and the mechanical method of collecting olives. With the help of a special machine, the tree is shaken. Most of the fruit as a result of fall on the polyethylene, spread on the ground. The method is very convenient, in terms of saving time and manpower, but unsafe for the tree itself, which in the end may suffer.
Currently, the island has about 2.5 million olive trees, slightly less than two million of which are cultivated varieties. This puts Cyprus on the 17th position in the world in the number of olive trees (first place in Spain, Italy and Greece). The most famous and widespread variety of olive trees growing in Cyprus, the local – “olive of Cyprus”. In total, about 10,000 tons of olives are harvested on the island per year.
In Cyprus, olives are sold everywhere: in small shops, large supermarkets, in markets, etc. Of course, the most delicious are olives, which are sold by weight in villages or in the market.