Dried or Fresh Olive Leaves
by Granny Bee
I have access to unsprayed olive trees and have been making tea from ground fresh leaves. I see that you suggest using dried leaves. Are dried leaves better than fresh for this purpose?
Not at all.
Tea made from ground fresh leaves contains volatile constituents that are lost by drying.
Fresh leaves would also have sustained less damage from oxidation.
While one could not categorically claim the fresh to be better than dried for all uses without extensive testing, it does seems to be the case with olive leaf from experience.
If you drink it for the health benefits, fresh would be the better option in most cases.
If you drink it as a beverage, tea from dried leaves may taste better than from fresh, but I can't compare as I have only tasted tea from dried leaves.
Thank you for the question.
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Eating olive leaf fresh from the tree
by Christel Webb
(Upper Hutt New Zealand)
Which olive leafs are better the young, light green ones or the older, dark green ones and are they at their best all year round?
I don't know that anybody has done a study on this, but commercial growers would likely pick a range of leaves including more of the older ones rather than the new growth and this gives a good result.
The important thing is to pick healthy leaves that have not been attacked by parasites or bugs, although a healthy tree that has ample sunlight in suitable soil and is not overgrown by other plants will not have many of those.
To answer the second question the potency of the leaves is seasonal, and the best time to pick them would be when they are most likely to have to ward off attack from their natural enemies, that is, during the growing season. This will vary according to latitude and location, but is probably the most practical way to choose when to pick.
Having said that, the supplier of my leaves has always picked them fresh when needed, and the results have been consistently good.
Farmers pick leaves after the olive harvest when producing both leaves and olives for oil and the table, as the leaves are needed to supply food for the fruit. These leaves are purchased by large companies producing standardised extracts so after the growing season also produces good results.