Now Reading
Are Olives Fruits or Vegetables: Solving a Dilemma

Are Olives Fruits or Vegetables: Solving a Dilemma

Are Olives Fruits or Vegetables

Are olives fruits or vegetables? This is one of those questions that frequently starts discussions and befuddles a lot of people. Let us find out how olives are classified botanically, provide reasons why some people could call them vegetables, and list many health benefits olives have.

Fruit or a Vegetable?

Because olives are frequently used and treated like vegetables in a typical western diet, there is misunderstanding over how to categorize them. The truth, however, lies in their botanical ancestry.

Olive Botanical Classification

If you are not a scientist, you might be surprised to learn that olives are called drupes or stone fruits by botanists, just like peaches, cherries, and mangoes. So, the short botanical answer is that olives are actually fruits.

Stone fruits are distinguished by an outer layer of flesh that encircles a single seed or pit. The olive fruit is produced by the olive tree, or Olea europaea, a flowering plant. Olives are a fruit since they are the mature, seed-containing ovaries of a plant’s flower, according to Dr. Leonard Perry, a professor of horticulture at the University of Vermont (Source: Perry, L. (2015). What about a vegetable?). Therefore in a strict sense, olives are fruits.

Why Some People Consider Olives to Be Vegetables

The savory flavor and culinary definition of olives lead to the widespread misunderstanding. While they’re technically fruits, a lot of people believe that olives are vegetables. The simple fact that olives are used alongside veggies like broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cauliflower in salads, pasta dishes, and as a pizza topping makes them appear vegetables to many people. Also, olives’ high fat content — which is absent from the traditional Western diet — contributes to some individuals classifying them as true vegetables.

Olives Are Incredibly Healthy

Rich nutritional profile of olive (a fruit, as you now know) makes this source of healthy fats more than just a delightful complement to your meals: eating olives may be linked to many health benefits.

olive oil and plant

Edible Parts of Olives Are High in Vitamins and Minerals

First and foremost, they are a good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids in defending the body against harm brought on by free radicals and reduce your risk of developing systemic inflammation.

Olives also include essential minerals including copper, which has been associated with a number of health advantages. A copper deficiency may increase your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor and naturopath (Source: Dean, C. (2018). The second edition of The Magnesium Miracle.) Olives also include monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, which are also linked to decreased inflammation and enhanced heart health.

To get the most benefits of olive oil, always buy the extra virgin variety as it contains significantly more vitamins and essential minerals compared to the hot-pressed oils.

The Evolution of Olives as They Ripen

Olives mature as they turn from green to black, which is a sign of the fruit’s maturity. Oleuropein, a bitter substance with antioxidant effects, is present in higher concentrations in green, unripe olives. Oleuropein levels drop and the flavor gets softer as they get older. The nutritional value of olives changes as they ripen, with black fruits having a higher fat content and fewer antioxidants compared to green immature olives.

Olives Compared to Eggplants, Cucumbers, and Other Plants

There are many other fruits that are the topic of classification disputes. Green beans, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, and other products like these might also be confusing.

cucumber plant

Fruits and vegetables: cucumber

These plants are categorized as fruits in botany since they grow from the flower of the plant and have seeds. Nonetheless, due to their savory flavor and use in salads and other dishes, they are considered to be vegetables from a culinary point of view.

What about eggplant?

Eggplant is technically a fruit, that is, a mature ovary of a plant. A member of the nightshade family, eggplant has a fleshy interior that contains seeds. Eggplants are frequently used as vegetables in the kitchen and are a component of many savory meals.

What about okra and green beans?

Each of them is considered a fruit because it grows from the plant’s bloom and has seeds. Like many other agricultural products that people think are vegetables, they are frequently used in recipes like stews, soups, and stir-fries. Culinary speaking, if something tastes like a vegetable, it is a vegetable.

Question and Answer Section

What about olives?

According to botany, olives are considered fruits since they are the mature, seed-containing ovaries of a plant’s flower. Nonetheless, because of their savory flavor and use in many cuisines, they are frequently regarded as vegetables in the culinary world (you don’t often use them for a fruit salad after all).

Are green olives fruits or vegetables?

As they are produced from the flower of the olive tree and have seeds, green olives are considered fruits. Simply put, they are olives that were picked before turning black and being fully mature.

Are black olives plants or fruits?

Black olives are a type of fruit. When fully mature and their color has changed from green to black, they are picked as the ripe variety of green olives.

Are olives a type of vegetable?

Due to their salty flavor and widespread use in many different cuisines, olives are sometimes classified as a vegetable in the culinary world. Botanically speaking, they are categorized as fruits.


Are olives fruits or vegetables, then? The correct response is that, like peaches, cherries, and mangoes, olives are considered to be drupes, or stone fruits. Nonetheless, due to their savory flavor and use in dishes, they are frequently classified as vegetables in the culinary world. Olives are a valuable addition to any diet due to its categorization as well as the numerous health advantages they provide.

If you buy something through our links, MakeoverIdea may earn an affiliate commission.


Scroll To Top