Although bitter and pungent, olives are a fruit rather than a vegetable.
This fun fact often throws people off because they aren't sweet and usually eaten in savory settings. For example, you often see olives at aperitivo next to a bowl of chips, in a martini, on pizza, or in pasta sauces. But they are indeed a fruit!
What Makes Olives a Fruit?
Olives grow on trees and contain a seed inside, which is a characteristic of a fruit.
Like a cherry or mango, olives have a skin, flesh, and a very hard inedible pit. But unlike cherries or mangos, they aren’t meant to be consumed raw. They need to be cured or bribed in order to become edible or milled to produce oil.
Olives are typically harvested in the early fall when they are green, but they can also be harvested later in the season when they're ripe and black.
Why Do They Seem Like a Vegetable?
Olives are not a vegetable. While they are often used in cooking as a vegetable, they do not meet the criteria for being classified as one.
However, they are commonly used as a vegetable in many culinary preparations such as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
Vegetables are defined as any plant matter that is eaten as food. They are typically low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of vegetables include broccoli, spinach, carrots, and peas.
Olives are high in fat and calories and are not as nutrient-dense as vegetables. While they do contain some vitamins and minerals, they are not a significant source of these nutrients.
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