Olives are a staple item in every Syrian household. They are an integral part of breakfast “iftoor” and dinner “asha”. They are usually served with pita bread known as “khibiz arabi”. The bread is bought daily from the local bakeries or from the little stores known as dikakeen. These olives are from the market called a “souk” in AlQamishly and the pictures were taken today by a friend of mine and sent to me.
Syria is the original home of the olive tree, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years as an important food source. According to a new study the first Olive trees originated between 6,000-8,000 years. They were first grown on the border of modern day Syria and Turkey. Syrians are still among the leading producers of Olive Oil (ranking fourth in Olive Oil output). There are over 90 million olive trees in Syria. An olive tree’s lifespan is sometimes more than a thousand years, in some cases and continue bearing fruit into old age. The olive fruit is harvested in early autumn and processed for storage. A popular item in Syria that can be bought pretty much anywhere is the olive oil soap or “saboon el ghar” its usually sold in square blocks. It’s great for keeping your skin soft and has a mild smell and a greenish color.
Olives are healthy, delicious and convenient to keep at home and are available all over the world. If you haven’t tried olives before I highly recommend that you do. They are available in many different colors, textures, tastes, and once you have tried a variety of them you will be able to identify which olives you prefer. As we say in Syria “alf saha oo hana” which means wishing you great health and happiness a thousand times.