Calling all olives lover out there, quick answer this … are olives a fruit or a vegetable? If you said fruit, you are correct! The olive fruits come from a tree called Olea europaea. Olives are very bitter tasting if you take it off straight from the tree and eat them. They need to be cured in water or oil to take away the bitter taste. Of course, olives can be cured into olive oil.
If you want to know the specifics, fruits are actually the seed-bearing part (flower) of a plant. Fruits contain a hard pit or stone which contains the seeds for that particular plant. Olives do indeed have a hard pit which scientifically classifies it as a fruit.
In contrast, you can call vegetables any part of a plant that can be eaten. So all fruits can actually be considered vegetables but not all vegetables are classified as fruits. Hope that clear up the confusion.
Olives Are a Fruit But Not a Nut
If you want to dive deeper into the fruit and vegetable classification world, you’ll be told that nuts are a type of fruit. So are olives also nuts? The answer is no, because nut are fruits with a outer hard shell surrounding an edible core that is actually the seed. It’s the opposite for olives. They have a fleshy, soft outer layer (called a mesocarp) that encases a hard, inedible hard pit (referred to as the endocarp). So all nuts are considered fruits but not all fruits are classified as nuts, like olives in this case.
Olives Are Nutritious
OK, so now that we answered the question, “are olives a fruit or a vegetable?” let’s advocate the virtues of olives. Olives, like fruits, can have many health benefits. They are certainly possessed of powerful antioxidants that act like scavengers of free radicals (which are harmful and damaging to your body). Olives are packed with many essential vitamins and minerals. You can get the benefits of olives by consuming olive oils or just the cured olive fruit themselves.
Olive Trees Can Live for Centuries
If you want a little olive-related trivia, the olive tree (called Olea europaea) that olives come from are native to the eastern Mediterranean region. They are pretty drought resistant and can therefore grow in dryer areas. Olive trees can live for centuries and can bear their olive fruits throughout their entire life. Olive trees are even mentioned in the Bible.
So in summary, remember that olives are fruits, and they are delicious, and they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!