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Fresh Living

olives.jpgAt my local Whole Foods, they have these incredible, huge green olives that are slick with oil and fragrant with chunks of garlic and lemon. 

I can barely contain myself around them – though they’re so garlic-y, they are best eaten either alone or in the company of others who like them as much as you do.

As I contemplate these beauties–wishing I had a bowlful right now–I thought I’d offer 5 reasons to celebrate the olive  Happy Foodie Friday, everyone! 

1.  They are incredibly healthful.  Don’t listen to haters who will tell you that olives are full of fat.  We know that we need fat to survive, right?  Especially good fat, the monounsaturated kind that helps raise your “good” HDL cholesterol, which is found in spades in…olives!  Along with fiber, vitamin E (an important antioxidant), copper, and other nutrients.  So snack away, and be sure to choose olive oil whenever possible for cooking.  

2.  They are transformed by human creativity.  Have you ever eaten an olive right off the tree?  I have…and I don’t recommend it.  In their natural state, olives are bitter, tough little buggers.  Yet someone, sometime thought – hey, what if we cured these and flavored them with herbs and citrus?  What if we pressed them and used their oil for cooking?  I love it that olives wouldn’t be a foodie staple if not for the creative, curious human spirit. 

3.  They have a cool history.  According to this fun fact sheet from Whole Foods, olives appear in a 2000 year-old Roman cookbook, on carvings on tombs of pharaohs, and of course it’s one of the “super foods” of the Bible.  The olive branch, as you probably know, is a symbol for peace and goodwill.  Any fruit that’s been cultivated in so many cultures with so much meaning invested in it must be a pretty important one, no? 

4.  They have other uses besides food.  Hair treatment, anyone?  Dip your fingers in cold-pressed olive oil and massage into your scalp for a moisturizing, health-restoring treatment.  Olive oil can also be mixed with lemon juice for a wood furniture polisher, used instead of shaving cream, applied to garden tools to keep dirt from sticking to them, and even used as a “personal lubricant” for women.    

5.  They are delicious.  Ooh, are they ever!  Great on appetizer platters, in salads, or warm in everything from chicken to fish to pasta dishes.  A quick online search yields promising recipe possibilities: green olive and bacon quiche, Greek-inspired pizza, and Moroccan chicken tagine just to get you started. 

(image via: http://www.noquam.com/ihatemusic/ihm_comp/olives.html)

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