Vera Richter The Cook Less Book

Olives are quite possibly the world's most perfect food. Olives are a biblical fruit associated in the scriptures with symbols of goodness, happiness, purity, and prosperity. In ancient Greece, during the height of their culture, Solon, the great law-giver, enacted laws protecting all olive trees. He made it a capital offense to kill a tree or to cut one down. The Romans were the first to perfect the stone-press with which they extracted the olive's oil. The Romans believed the olive to be an incredibly sexual fruit, an aphrodisiac, especially when eaten in large quantities.

If I had to pick one fruit to live on for the rest of my life, it would be the olive. Once you delve into the olive, you will become privy to the great Mediterranean secret of health, happiness, and longevity. The olive is a magical fruit. But the olive remains a mystery to almost everyone I know, include other raw-foodists! Few people know how to eat an olive naturally!

It took me several years to unravel the olive's mystery. The first clue I discovered about olives is that they are a type of fruit which ripens on the ground. Avocados, dates, cherimoya, and even citrus fruits fall into this category (I have noticed citrus fruits reach their peak maturity after weeks, or even months, on the ground in the Sun; if you buy citrus fruits in the store, leave them outside under the Sun if possible or in the windowsill to allow them to reach their full ripeness).

Olives must be picked fresh and Sun-ripened. As the olive ripens in the Sun, the bitter component (oleuropein) is converted and the fruit suddenly becomes edible! The black olives commonly grown in the United States and the Mediterranean reach their ripe maturity when the fruit softens and the internal flesh of the fruit changes from white or red to brown or black. The olive skin may begin wrinkling at this stage as well. Though there are these markers to watch for, olives are a food you acquire a "feel" for. I can look at an olive or pick one up and know if it is ripe or not, even if it has undergone no obvious external changes.

The second clue I unraveled was that olives taste best and are most digestible in their juicy ripened state before they become too dry. Olives are an ancient biblical fruit, yet very few people have ever eaten them in their juicy ripened natural state! Juicy Sun-ripened olives are beyond description. The olive has such a marvelous variety of flavors. I might eat 10 in a row, all from the same tree, while noticing a different flavor in each olive. I usually do not stop with 10, I might eat 50 olives with a salad for dinner. On some days as many as 150 has pass my lips!

The third clue was that olives are an extremely sensitive fruit. Olives are very perishable. They are especially perishable when taken out of the Sun. that is why we do not see naturally juicy olives in stores. Olives contain no sugar, thus they are not protected by sugar's antimicrobial properties. Olives must either be soaked in olive oil, salt-cured, or altered in some other way to remain stable over time.

I do not recommend pickled olives as they are extremely acid forming in digestion, though technically not cooked. Canned black olives have been pasteurized and soaked in ferrous gluconate (an iron compound which darkens them), and should be avoided. The only cured olives I recommend eating are "water-cured" or "raw sea-salt and olive-oil cured" olives (these should be eaten moderately because of their high-salt content, e.g. not more than 15 with a salad). Aside from the natural way, the best choice to eat olives is to find Sun-ripened olives which have been soaked in olive oil and a light sea salt. Nature's First Law is presently distributing the best Sun-ripened olives soaked in olive oil and sea salt available throughout North America. Nature's First Law is also currently distributing stone-crushed, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (pressed in the original way the Romans and Greeks did it). Regularly check our web-site (http://www.rawfood.com) for more details.

Olive trees are ubiquitous in the southwestern United States (California, Arizona, and Nevada) as well as throughout the Mediterranean world, the Middle East, and India. Olives grow abundantly in California, especially in Southern California; they have been naturalized here, and even grow wildly, having been spread by the birds. I have also seen olives growing abundantly in southern Nevada, especially in the Las Vegas area. They grow throughout Arizona as well. They love the desert.

Consider the power and benefits of the olive. The raw olive is:

  • 1) The highest fruit in minerals!
  • 2) The highest fruit in calcium. Olives contain twice as much calcium as oranges by weight.
  • 3) High in magnesium.
  • 4) High in amino acids, including: leucine, aspartic acid, and glutaminic acid.
  • 5) An alkaline fruit.
  • 6) A fatty fruit (mostly monounsaturated fat).
  • 7) An alkaline fat source.
  • 8) Loaded with beneficial omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • 9) High in vitamins A and E.
  • 10) In possession of many antioxidant properties. Antioxidants deactivate free radicals allow us to live longer, overcome illness, and maintain more acute mental and muscular faculties.
  • 11) Available in different varieties, which fruit all year round.
  • 12) Pressable into a powerful oil, usable in a limitless number of ways all year round.
  • 13) Able to soothe the mucous membranes with its oil

Olives have the greatest propensity of any fruit to dissolve toxic mucus in the system (in fact, they are three times more powerful than oranges in that respect). In Arnold Ehret's classic book, Mucusless Diet Healing System, he reprints Ragnar Berg's Table which organizes different foods by their acid-binding or acid-forming potential. The higher the food's acid-binding potential, the greater its ability to dissolve mucus and cooked-food residues in the body. The olive, it turns out, is the highest mucus dissolver of any fruit. It rates with a value of 30.56 with figs following behind at 27.81, no other fruit in the chart ranks above 20.00. to give you an idea of how high these values are, the orange, an excellent mucus-dissolver, ranks at 9.61.

Olive oil is a soothing fat for damaged and dry skin, hair, and nails. It can be used to soothe the skin after shaving. Olive oil may be used on baby skin instead of the harsh "baby oil" brands available in stores. Some olive oils are devoid of lipase (the fat splitting enzyme), probably because they are made from unripe olives. This is why I recommend only stone-crushed, cold-pressed extra virgin organic American or European brands in dark bottles (oils are light sensitive). The Greek and Italian oils I find to be slightly better in taste and quality.

The Enzymes Effect

The Enzymes Effect

Enzymes which are usually proteins help to begin, aid in and accelerate every chemical reaction in the human body. Enzymes are the bodys main workforce, much like a construction company building a skyscraper.

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