11 Jun

Olive Oil, The Vegetable Fruit

Many people are surprised to learn that olive oil is actually a fruit. It appears more vegetable in nature, but appearances are deceiving – it's a fruit. Of course, most fruits don't have such wonderful oil associated with them, which is probably why we tend to think vegetable rather than fruit.

The facts and figures surrounding the olive and olive oil are fascinating. Did you know that there are in excess of three quarters of a billion olive trees in cultivation worldwide? That's a lot of olives! Most of them, more than 95 percent, can be found in the Mediterranean basin. Spain alone accounts for more than 40 percent of the world total production, which amounts to some 2.6 million tonnes annually.

Some 60 percent of the cultivated land in Greece is given over to olive growing. They hold third place in the world for olive oil production, but because 75 percent of that production is given over to extra virgin olive oil, that makes them the biggest producers of that finest of olive oil quality in the world.

France, although a small player in olive oil production, is nevertheless renowned for the high quality of the oil it does produce. French extra virgin olive oil is prized for its fine delicate flavor and aroma. Size isn't always important!