Where Did Olives Come From?

Today, most of the olives we eat come from Spain or Italy. But the original home of the olive tree is in the Middle East, where it was common all around the Mediterranean Sea by biblical times. Traders later brought olive tree seeds and cuttings to Europe and North Africa.

Olives are never eaten fresh from the tree. Fresh olives have a bitter taste, so they must be pickled in salted water before they can be eaten.

The most important product of the olive tree is not the fruit itself, but its oil. Olive oil was so valuable in ancient times that people sometimes measured their wealth by how many jars of olive oil they owned!

Olive trees live for so long that some trees still alive today may have been producing olives at the time of Christ!