Preparation, uses, and tips
Used mainly as finger foods, olives can also be used in salads, spreads, and breads, and
make a great visual and flavor accent in meat, grain, and vegetable dishes. Olives are also a
familiar topping on pizza. For more flavor, substitute pitted Kalamata olives for the black
olive rings that typically appear on pizza.
Olives are one of the few fruits that are not enjoyed in their raw state.
The flavor of an olive depends upon its variety, the climate and soil where it’s
grown, the time of harvest, and the curing method—and also whether it was processed
whole, cracked, or pitted. Experiment with the many different varieties of olives available to
discover which ones you like best.
There are dozens of varieties of olives, and both their size and flavor vary. All fresh
olives, almost never seen for sale, are quite bitter, and the final flavor of the fruit
greatly depends on how ripe it is when picked and the processing it receives.
Underripe olives are always green, whereas ripe olives may be either green or black. Ripe
olives are oilier than underripe ones. Olives that are tree ripened turn dark brown or black
naturally, and while the majority of these olives are used for oil, the rest are brine- or
salt-cured; they are usually packed in olive
oil or a brine or vinegar solution.
Dry-cured olives have been packed in salt, which removes most of their moisture and creates
intensely flavored, dry, wrinkled fruit. These olives are sometimes rubbed with olive oil or
packed with herbs.
Spanish olives are picked young, soaked in lye, and then fermented in brine for 6 to 12
months. When bottled, they’re packed in a weak brine and sold in a variety of forms,
including pitted, unpitted, or stuffed with foods such as pimientos, almonds, onions, and
Greek olives (the most popular being the dark-skinned Kalamata variety) and Italian olives
are not picked until they are fully tree-ripened, and so have a dark purple color and are soft
and juicy. They are then put down with rock salt in containers and left to stand for several
months before being packed in olive oil and marketed. Kalamata olives are also marinated in a
Olives, ripe, canned, 1 large (4.4g)
Total Fat: 0.47g