We've recently stumbled across some interesting information about olives, and thought it might apppeal to those antipasto lovers out there! There are so many different varieties of olives and they've been a part of our diet for thousands of years! There's a reason why they play such an important role in the Mediterranean diet and we're curious about what makes them special.
- Olive trees are some of the oldest recorded trees harvested by humans.
- The best olives are picked using the traditional method of picking them off the trees by hand. Since all olives ripen at different times, they should each be picked at their ripest moment individually.
- As far as the color of your olive goes, it relates directly to the olive's ripeness. Green olives ripen to black olives. Darker olives were picked from the tree closer to their ripest moment.
- Raw olives have an intense, bitter flavor due to their oleuopein content. Before olives are consumed, they need to be cured in a process similar to fermentation where the olive's natural sugars change into lactic acid.
A beginner's guide to some main olive varieties:
- Kalamata - A popular Greek olive, this deep purple fruit has a rich and smokey flavor and almond shape.
- Castelvetrano - This bright green, classic Italian olive is sweet and originates from Sicily.
- Mission - This is dark, rounder olive that originated in Spain, but has now flourished in California and is mostly used for making olive oil.
- Niçoise - A typical French olive, this dark, almond-shaped one is often found in tapenades and has a herbal fragrance.
- Picholine - Another French olive, this torpedo-shaped green olive is crunchy, tart and found in hors d'oeuvres.