The life span of an olive tree ranges from 300 to 600 years. Typically, olives are first harvested after 15 years.


  • Olives are a member of the Oleaceae botanical family.
  • Olives are a fruit, known as a drupe that grow on a small tree or shrub.
  • There are over a thousand varieties of olives grown throughout the world, though an estimated 139 varieties account for 85% of olive production around the world.
  • Olives contain oleuropein, a bitter component which requires olives go through a curing/brining process prior to production. These steps make the olives palatable.
  • Olive oil is produced by extracting oil from the pulp of the fruit. There are different extraction processes depending on the type of olive oil being made.


  • Olives are an excellent source of iron and a good source of copper.
    • Iron supports growth and development, immune function, wound healing, reproduction, and energy production.
    • Copper assists with bone formation, energy production, iron metabolism, and nervous system function.
  • Use caution if you are on a low sodium diet. Olives are high in sodium due to the processing method.

How to Purchase, Prepare, and Store

  • Purchase olives at grocers year-round.
  • Olives can be purchased canned or jarred. Many varieties are available including many specialty brands that offer stuffed olives.
  • Prepare olives as directed per recipe.
  • Add olives to salads or other dishes; chop or puree to create delicious dips.
  • Store unopened cans of olives in a cool dark place. Once open, place olives in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup black olives (67.5 grams)

  • Calories: 78.5
  • Protein: 0.56 g
  • Fat: 7.3 g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.0 g
  • Fiber: 1.0 g
  • Calcium: 59.5 mg
  • Iron: 4.2 mg
  • Magnesium: 2.7 mg
  • Phosphorus: 2.0 mg
  • Folate: 0 µg
  • Vitamin A: 11.5 µg

1/2 cup green olives (67.5 grams)

  • Calories: 98
  • Protein: 0.69 g
  • Fat: 10.3 g
  • Carbohydrate: 2.5 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Calcium: 35.1 mg
  • Iron: 0.33 mg
  • Magnesium: 7.4 mg
  • Phosphorus: 2.7 mg
  • Folate: 2.0 µg
  • Vitamin A: 13.5 µg



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