Is olive a fruit or vegetable?

At the very beginning, it is interesting to raise the question of what are olives? Many people ask the question: Are olives a fruit or a vegetable? Can we add it to the list of vegetables that are fruits? A thorough content analysis will help to understand this.


The height of an adult cultivated olive tree is usually five to six meters, but sometimes it reaches 10 to 11 meters or more. The gray bark, gnarled, twisted, usually hollow in old age, covers the trunk. Branches are knotty, long, drooping in some varieties.

The leaves are narrow-lanceolate, whole-edged, gray-green, do not fall off for the winter, and are renewed gradually for two to three years.

Fragrant flowers are very small, whitish, with two stamens, located in the axils of the leaves in the form of paniculate brushes—blooms in late June.

The drupe is most often elongated-oval in shape (length 2 – 3.5 centimeters), with a pointed or blunt nose, with a fleshy pericarp containing oil. The color of the fruit pulp is green, turning black or dark purple when ripe, often with an intense waxy bloom. The stone is very dense, with a grooved surface. Fruit ripening occurs 4 – 5 months after flowering.

Since the olive is a dioecious plant, when planting, two plants are grown in each hole: a female and a male for pollination.

Are olives a fruit or a vegetable?

The olive, or the tree on which the olives grow, grows in areas with a subtropical climate, which, in principle, is not very good for berries. Russians are familiar with the variety of berries, and the environment of our country cannot be called subtropics. However, olives have all the signs of a berry: size, shape, color can be confused with a berry.

It is how olives can be called berries, but more precisely, they will be called stone fruits. Olives have a lot more in common with plums or cherries than they do with strawberries or strawberries. Therefore, classification is such a difficult moment. At the same time, the olives are not sweet but somewhat bitter in their raw form. After processing, they become salty or spicy, which, to a large extent, depends on the recipe. But even here, a very striking example can be cited, which everyone knows very well. The tomato is also considered a berry. However, everyone knows that it does not taste sweet.

Sizes of olives and their uses

There are, of course, small and large olives, but they deserve special attention, and indeed, olives will never grow to the size of a tomato or even apricot. Depending on the shape, time of collection, and size, berries are used in different ways.

· Large olives. They are often used to make oil; some of these olives are sent to barrels with a solution to sell later. They are also sometimes called the “Freedom Olive.”

· Medium olives. People can use them to obtain olive oil and store them on the shelves in canned form.

· Small olives. Almost always sent to the counter, used in pizza and other dishes. They are also present in ready-made food sets.

It is a reasonably general classification so that you can consider olives by size in more detail. There are 13 of them in total, and the length itself is determined not by eye but by the volume occupied by stone fruits in a particular container. So, for example, the giant Super-Super Mammoth olives fit in the amount of 70-90 pieces per 1 kilogram container.

Note that the black olives are ripe fruits, while green olives are unripe. Both are used in the food industry and are not different fruits. The color depends only on the degree of maturity, and the taste depends on the varieties. Dark olives are milder in flavor, while green olives are spicy and aromatic. Green olives are fruits that are harvested before they are ripe. Their color ranges from yellow to green. Combination olives are fruits that are harvested to maturity and range in color from brown to pink. 

Classification of olives by size

Classification of olives by size

Fine (321 – 350 pcs / kg)

Brillaint (291 – 320 pcs / kg)

Superior (261 – 290 pcs / kg)

Large (231 – 260 pcs / kg)

Extra-large (201 – 230 pcs / kg)

Jumbo (181 – 200 pcs / kg)

Extra jumbo (161 – 180 pcs / kg)

Giants (141 – 160 pcs / kg)

Colossal (121 – 140 pcs / kg)

Super Colossal (111 – 120 pcs / kg)

Mammoth (101 – 110 pcs / kg)

Super Mammoth (91 – 100 pcs / kg)

Super-Super Mammoth (70 – 90 pcs / kg)

That is how olives can be in size. Conventionally, people divide them into large, medium, and small, after which it will be easier to perceive them. This list is perfect for anyone who buys olives in cans where their size is not visible. Such “dimensions” are always there on the jar, and from them, you can understand how large the stone fruits of the olive are. And everyone knows very well that the more olive, the more vitamins it contains.


Why do many people ask the question: are olives a fruit or a vegetable? Because these are delicious fruits. They improve the activity of blood vessels and the heart, strengthen the mucous membrane and cell membranes. Olives are good for stomach and liver health. Fatty monounsaturated acids during the diet replenish the supply of nutrients. There is evidence of the beneficial effects of olives on the body during pregnancy. They help to normalize sodium and hemoglobin salts, the lack of which might be in expectant mothers. Olives are widely used in cosmetology as they have anti-aging properties. This product has long been considered an aphrodisiac that has a healing effect on men’s health. It contains linoleic acid, which contributes to the proper development of the children’s nervous system.

Why olives are dangerous

Olives are considered safe food. However, some people may have allergic reactions to caustic soda. The soda and salt used to process olives contain more sodium than is recommended for food. Place the olives in a bowl and rinse them several times before eating to rinse off excess salt and baking soda.

Canned olives can be dangerous. Their color directly depends on the technologies used in their production. So, black canned olives, called olives in Russia, like green olives, are harvested unripe. And then, due to special processing, their color turns black. For that, the fruits are oxidized with E524 and E579 additives. Therefore, it is better to check the availability of these additives once again when you buy olives in the store. Their color turns black, they are softer, and the fruit develops a specific taste.

History and application

History of olive

Olives originated in Greece and continue to be actively cultivated there today. The plant was introduced to the United States in 1560 and grown in Peru and Mexico. Today, the olive breeds in the Mediterranean powers, Iraq, Georgia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and India. The olive is a dioecious plant. Therefore, they plant it in two pieces: male and female together. From its fruits, olive oil is made, which is used in the manufacture of canned fish. It contains phosphorus, iron, sugars, pectin, vitamins B, P, C. The quality of the oil is affected by the type of tree, soil in which it grows, and climatic conditions. In addition, olives are canned, as already mentioned, and used as a snack. Olive wood is used to make furniture, joinery, and turning products. For medicinal purposes, people use the bark, leaves, and the oil contained in the fruits.

In addition, olive oil is popular in soap making and perfumery. Trees provide excellent protection against landslides and soil erosion. Their root system prevents natural disasters. Reflections Let’s go back to the definition of olives. Are they vegetables or fruits? Judging by the seed, they are fruits, not berries. So they are fruits? What is the essence of the division into vegetables and fruits? The fruit is known to be the edible, succulent fruit of a bush or tree. Certain berries are also a type of fruit. “Fruit” is any fruit consisting of seeds and pulp that emerges from the flower’s ovary. Vegetables are the fruits of herbaceous plants with soft stems uncovered with tree bark. Botanists believe that all fruits containing seeds are fruits. They divide them into fruits with juicy pulp and seeds (melons, oranges, apples, berries). Dry fruits (peas, nuts, beans). Fruits with fleshy pulp and a single central large stone (peaches, plums, cherries). The vegetable is a culinary term for an edible part (such as a tuber or fruit) of a plant that is not a grain, fruit, herb, nut, or spice. In this classification, berries are classified as fruits. The stem of the olive is not herbaceous, which means that it is not a vegetable. Fruits such as cherries, raspberries, plums, walnuts are drupes. It looks like the olive is a drupe, not a berry. But all the same, it turns out that both the berry and the drupe are fruits.


So here’s the answer to the question of olive is a fruit or a vegetable? The olive is a fruit. You can add it to the list of vegetables that are fruits. Of course, it is right to assume that olives are a vegetable, fruit, and berry all rolled into one. Yet many people claim that an olive is an olive!

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