the introduction of clonal propagation made it possible to fix unique genotypes. Olives have been propagated from grafting since antiquity (seeVegetative Propagation). Many present-day cultivars are considered to be thousands of years old.There are two processing steps involved in olive utilization. The first is transformation of the bitter fruit to an edible form and the second is oil separation. Somehow, Neolithic humans learned to consume a small, bitter fruit, almost inedible and somewhat poisonous as a result of the phenolic glucoside eleuropein found in various concentrations in all olives. This was accomplished by soaking, a technique still used. Further steps in detoxification included pounding, addition of lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide), or lactic acid fermentation induced by sodium chloride (Colmagro et al. 2001). There is ample evidence that so called “primitive” societies learned to leach a number of foods to reduce their content of bitter substances.
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