Season for Olives Available Year Round

Olives Described

Most of us love a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) dribbled over this, that and the other, but are we appreciating this fine fruit the way that we should in its whole form? Salty and tart, olives can be enjoyed in almost any dish, that is, after they’ve been cured to remove their bitter taste. Olives come in many varieties and colors – it’s hue and texture affected by processing methods including fermentation and/or curing in oil, water, brine or salt, as well as its maturity when plucked from the tree. It’s important to experiment with all types of olives until you find the flavor that sends your palate flying, for there is huge variance. Don’t leave it at the tasteless black olives you find at pizza joints! 

How to Buy and Store Olives

As we usually recommend, forgo those canned specimens – for the hit you will take in taste, quality, potential health hazards and loss of diversity (afforded to you by your local olive bar) is hardly worth the minimal advantage in convenience. When choosing your olives from the bulk section, make sure you do so at a reputable grocer with high turnover to ensure they haven’t been sitting too long. Should you not be lucky enough to have a local olive bar, both domestic and imported olives are available bottled in glass jars in a variety of forms including whole (pitted, unpitted and stuffed), sliced and chopped. Unopened olives can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 years. Olives will keep best if refrigerated in an airtight container (in their own liquid), for several weeks.

How to Cook Olives

Olives can add their signature taste to all kinds of dishes – though you may be most familiar with its tang atop a pizza. Drain the oil of brine that they’ve been stored in (which you can use as a salt water replacement in recipes). To pit olives, press them with the flat side of a knife, breaking the flesh that will allow you to easily remove the pit with your fingers or the knife. You can chop up your olives, adding them to salads, pastas or stews or concocting a tapenade. Also, you may choose to leave them whole, serving stuffed olives as an hors d’oeuvre or otherwise. 

Health Benefits of Olives

We discovered how ridiculously healthy olives are in 10 Reason Why Olive You, and we’ve been olive-converts ever since! The consumption of this little pungent fruit is associated with some major free radical combat, which is integral to fighting cancer, heart disease and those wrinkles we know and love. Aside from its phytonutrient content, olives are known for vitamin E and monounsaturated fats which have been associated with lower rates of colon cancer. 

Why Buy Natural and Organic Olives

The olive can be salty, textureless and adulterated with synthetic food additives – and you’ll never know how good they can actually be! First off, farmers of non-organic olives spray groves to kill the olive fly pest. And secondly, conventional olives are artificially oxidised in a “sparging” tank, lye added to artificially remove bitterness and then heat treated to kill bacteria, as opposed to those that are traditionally, slowly and naturally processed in salt water. Opt for those that have been grown organically, traditionally cured and are jarred, not canned. They will taste worlds apart!

image: @rgs