Foodies are frequently looking for the ultimate “super food”. While no one food really fulfills the “superfood” role, avocados, olives and limes all have their place in the history of human food. Each provides a number of essential nutrients that are beneficial to humans everywhere. The good news is that if you live in a moderately moist, reasonably warm climate, you can grow these three “super foods” in your own back yard.
Why the produce from these three trees could be classed as “super foods”
Olives have been cultivated for more than 6000 years. They were first grown in the area of Iran, Syria and Palestine. Olive oil was highly prized for cooking, lighting, and anointing bodies. The olive berries, after being processed, are high in nutrients and can be added to a variety of dishes.
Limes have a role in world exploration. Although ocean-going humans might have been able to add fresh protein to their diets through fishing, fresh fruit and greens would soon be noticeably lacking. Sailors would develop scurvy (Arrrrgh, ye scurvy knave), a dietary deficiency caused by lack of vitamin C. When lime juice was added to their daily water supply, the sailors were healthier and less likely to fall ill. Limes store well, and can remain reasonably fresh for several months.
Avocados were introduced to Europe by the Spaniards, who got them from the natives in Mexico. Avocados were cultivated by the Meso-Americans in Central America possibly as long as 10,000 years ago. They are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and a host of vitamins. Besides that, they make a delicious base for dips, sandwiches, and other foods.
All three of these foods travel well in our modern world of refrigerated haulers, but what could possibly be better than to have all three growing in your own back yard?
Different Parts of the World, but Similar Growth Habits
Avocados, limes and olives originate in different parts of the world, but share similar growth habits. Avocados and limes both enjoy a warm, semi-tropical environment. Although olives originate from a somewhat drier region, they like similar temperature ranges. All three trees are beautiful additions to any landscaping project.
It might be a good idea to group your olive trees in a slightly different area from your avocados and limes, simply because they do enjoy a slightly drier soil condition. Perhaps an ideal growing situation might be to place your avocados olives uphill from your avocadoes and limes.
Pollination, Bees and Trees
Avocado trees will benefit from having some bees nearby. Olives and limes are both said to be self-pollinating or wind pollinated, but bees will be attracted to the blossoms. There is some literature that says that “lime” trees are fatal to bees. But the fatal trees are actually lindens, which are sometimes called lime trees, but are not in any way related to the citrus trees of that name.
What can you make from Avocados, limes and olives?
Let’s imagine for a moment that you have a perfectly ripe avocado, a lime, and a bowl of pitted black olives that have been pickled in salt brine. Cut the avocado in half, and remove the seed. Cut the lime in half, and squeeze the juice from the lime onto the avocado, and sprinkle slices of black olive into the hollow where the avocado pit used to be located. Dig into the results with a spoon…because what you have created is a nutritious, delicious lunch.
Avocados and lime juice are also the basis for that lovely dip creation otherwise known as guacamole. Scoop it up on a cracker or chip, or spread it on a piece of toast. Sprinkle on some black olives, or serve a bowl of green olives on the side.
A minor disadvantage to our small fantasy of grow your own guacamole dip or growing your own avocado lunch is that olives require processing before they can be eaten. They need to be aged in a brine or pickling solution before they are edible.
Added Plants for an Edible Landscape
Peppers are a favored part of guacamole. Pepper plants, cayenne, sweet bells, and similar vegetables love the same sort of warm climate favored by citrus trees, avocados and olives. With your tall trees positioned toward the back of your garden and an assortment of peppers, tomatoes and perhaps even maize, you can have a lovely, edible garden that can perk up almost any meal.