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All About Olives

All About Olives

Explore the World With Your Taste Buds

From the buttery, green Italian Castelvetrano to the tart and tangy Greek Calamata, olives come in a number of varieties from all over the world. Depending on a number of factors, including the climate and time of harvest, olives boast a vast range of colors, textures and flavors. (And, of course, how they are cured!) These beloved, bite-sized fruits are as complex as they are plentiful, so be sure to explore the world of flavor that olives have to offer.

Calamata Olives
Castelvetrano Olives
California Sevillano Olives
French Niçoise Olives
Stuffed Olives

5 Fast Facts
About Olives

  1. Olives are actually a stone fruit (like peaches or cherries).

  2. Unlike most tree fruits, olives are inedible straight from the branch. Olives are cured in a variety of ways to remove bitter flavor compounds.

  3. All olives start out green. As they mature, olives can range from a purple to deep brown or black. Olives range in color depending on when they are harvested. As a rule, the greener they are, the less mature they are.

  4. The taste of each olive differs from olive variety to olive variety. Those big, bold flavors vary for a few reasons: olive variety, olive ripeness or color (how soon or late they were harvested) and how they are cured

  5. Olive trees are an ancient Mediterranean crop, grown and harvested for thousands of years. Most olive trees are hundreds of years old and still bear delicious fruit!

The Basics of Olives

From the buttery, green Italian Castelvetrano to the tart and tangy Greek Calamata, olives come in a number of varieties from all over the world. Depending on a number of factors, including the climate and time of harvest, olives boast a vast range of colors, textures and flavors. (And, of course, how they are cured!) These beloved, bite-sized fruits are as complex as they are plentiful, so be sure to explore the world of flavor that olives have to offer.

Variety

There are hundreds of varieties of olives from all over the world. Each has their own unique and distinct characteristics to include shape, size, color and ultimately flavor.

Color

The exact moment an olive is harvested makes all the difference—on a scale from green (young) to black (ripened). An olive’s maturity affects its texture and flavor profile.

Cure

Ultimately, it is the curing style that gives an olive its distinct flavor profile. You can cure the same olive two different ways and create two very distinct tastes.

Get the Party Started: Entertaining with Olives & Antipasti FAQ

Q. How much do I need to buy?
There is no exact science to portions, but we like to estimate 8 oz. of antipasti per guest. Increase that to 16 oz. per guest when entertaining for a full evening of apps and drinks.

Q. How do I pair olives and antipasti with meats, cheeses and wine?
Check out our pairing guide, or let us do the work with our ready-to-serve cheese boards and cheese board collections.

How-To Entertain: Video Guides

The Olive Harvest

Olives come in a wide range of colors, from straw-green to purples and black …even pink! The precise moment an olive is harvested can determine its flavor and texture. Just as you might imagine, the greener an olive, the younger it is. These youthful fruits are typically picked from the tree in September and October—early in the harvest season. Green olives are often tart in flavor with a crisp, firm flesh. Dark-hued olives (the deep purple, brown and black) are allowed to ripen longer on the tree before they are plucked—typically in January—creating a more tender and more complex olive with deeper, richer notes.

Younger Olives

Younger olives are green and tend to be firmer and crisper in texture with a more bright, tart flavor.

Mature Olives

Dark olives are more mature, boasting richer and more intense flavors with a tender bite. Ripe olives can vary in color: from purple to brown to black.

It’s All About the Cure

From the buttery, green Italian Castelvetrano to the tart and tangy Greek Calamata, olives come in a number of varieties from all over the world. Depending on a number of factors, including the climate and time of harvest, olives boast a vast range of colors, textures and flavors. (And, of course, how they are cured!) These beloved, bite-sized fruits are as complex as they are plentiful, so be sure to explore the world of flavor that olives have to offer.

How to Cure an Olive

Natural Brine Cure

A natural process where ripened olives are fermented in salt water. While this method takes longer (months and months and months), the results are a superbly flavorful olive. Our preferred cure for most olives, it is a natural way to emphasize an olives full, bold flavor.

Salt Cure

Dry cured, or salt cured, olives are super intense. Olives are packed in salt, removing bitterness and moisture, leaving behind a wrinkled raisin-looking olive with a deep, concentrated flavor. These olives are often packed in oil, giving them a plump, juicy bite.

Lye Cure

Lye, also known as caustic soda, is a curing agent used to expedite the curing process that might take months otherwise, can be cured in days or weeks. This process is followed by a thorough rinsing. While olives often keep their texture, the downside of a lye cure is loss of flavor.

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