- $14 for two Groupons, each good for $12 worth of Greek and American food ($24 total value)
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The Olive: Fruit of the Ancients
Olives have gone through a lot to get to your pizza or be pressed into oil. Find this fruit’s deep roots with Groupon’s exploration of olives.
It might not have a starring role in many entrees, but the tang of the olive is often a crucial supporting player in pastas, pizzas, and salads. While salinity and acidity are common to all varieties, the world of olives is vast: purple-black Greek kalamatas have a rich and fruity flavor brought out by a brine cure, and green Spanish manzanillas are lightly finished in lye and typically stuffed with pimientos. In general, green olives are those that are picked before ripening, though some olives stay green throughout their entire growth cycle and others are black from the beginning. An unadorned olive of any type is a work of culinary art by the time it reaches the table or the supermarket shelf, as the fresh-picked fruits are far too bitter to eat.
10,000 Years in the Making
Although there is some disagreement about which living olive tree is the oldest, all contenders have been growing for thousands of years. Olive pits recovered from Mount Carmel have been dated to about 9000 BC, and Greek stone mortars and presses used for oil extraction are known to be at least 7,000 years old. A study published in 2013 suggests that the olive first was domesticated by people living near the borders of modern-day Turkey and Syria between 8,000 and 6,000 years ago, but the wild fruit was already a staple of the human diet and food-fight arsenal at that point.
- Like pine trees, olive trees keep their leaves year-round. This means they are considered evergreens, though they are not conifers.
- Not only did ancient Olympians cover themselves in olive oil before competing, winners were awarded as much as 5,000 kilos of the golden elixir.
- Olive branches have been considered a symbol of peace for millennia—they were an emblem of the goddess Athena even before they became a recurring motif in the Bible and on the popular kids’ show Olive Friends.