Olives have existed as a domesticated crop in the Mediterranean since biblical times. The raw fruits are pressed to make olive oil, The oil can be further prepared into butter or animal fat substitutes. The fruit can be processed into green or black olives. Green olives are pickled before being ripened, black olives after. They may be stored in brine, oil or even vinegar. They may also be stuffed, sometimes with pimentos and are often served as nibbles with drinks. They are a valuable addition to the kitchen.
Menorcan wild olive gates
Throughout the Mediterranean island of Menorca, most of the farm gates, some fences and railings are made from split branches of the wild olive, rustic looking, attractive and very strong. They are known as 'barreras menorquinas' in Spanish or 'barreres menorquines' in Catalan. Because of its island location, Menorca has cold wet winters, leaving the growing season too short for commercial olive fruit growing so most of the olive trees you will see are likely to be wild olives, grown extensively for timber.