Olives are a fruit that grows on olive trees and is beneficial to your health. Olives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the majority of them originating in Mediterranean countries but also growing in California. Green olives, purple olives, and black olives are the three most common types produced in Spain, Greece, and Italy. Preserving methods used to cure olives are responsible for the salty, bitter, and occasionally fruity flavor of olives.
Olive trees’ wood and leaves are valued in addition to their delicious olive fruits. There are hundreds of cultivars available. Some olive trees, in fact, are reported to be more than 1,660 years old and are still bearing delectable olives! Try some of the delicious kinds of olives mentioned in this article if you’ve only sampled a few cheap flavorless pitted olives manufactured commercially.
Green Olives vs. Black Olives
Green and black olives are thought to come from distinct sorts of olive trees by many individuals. The same type of olive fruit comes from the same tree, however all kinds of olives (green, black, purple, and reddish/purple) are the same. The ripeness of the olive when it was picked determines the distinction between green and black olives.
Olives change from green to a light red color before becoming black as they mature. In September and October, green olives are ripe for harvesting. When soft, ripe, black olives are ready for harvesting in late November and December, the harvest season is really underway.
It’s a matter of personal preference whether you should eat green or black olives. Green olives have a more bitter flavor and are tougher. Soft and with a sweeter flavor, black olives are preferable. The flavor and texture of all kinds of olives are also affected by keeping the olives in brine, vinegar, olive oil, or drying them.
Types of Olives
To give your meal a delicious Mediterranean twist, let’s take a look at several of the most popular olive types that you can eat.
One of the most delectable and well-known Greek olive varieties is Kalamata olives. The Kalamata area in southern Greece is home to these reddish-purple olives. Brown olives, purple olives, and black olives are all Kalamata varieties of olive. Olives marketed as “Kalamata” must be from this area, since Kalamata olives have a protected designation of origin (PDO).
Olive producers use this olive cultivar to press olive oil because Kalamata olives contain a lot of oil. These olives, on the other hand, are great for serving as table olives because of their salty-sweet flavor. Brine or red wine vinegar is typically used to cure Kalamata Greek olives. They’re great as a tapenade or with feta cheese and roasted veggies.
Another popular and delicious Greek olive variety is olives from the Agrinion area of Greece. The Conservelea tree, which is thought to be one of the world’s oldest olive trees, produces agrinion olives. Green or black olives are offered in a variety of shapes and sizes, including agrinion olives. The characteristic tangy, sour flavor of Greek olives is created by curing them in brine. The pit that separates easily from the firm, juicy flesh is usually included with these olives.
Green or black olives that grow in Central Greece have PDO status and are known as amfissa olives. According to legend, the Amfissa region of Greece has more than 1.2 million olive trees. The Conservelea tree, which grows in the Amfissa area, yields olives that are similar to those produced in Agrinion. Their flavor is sweeter and more fruity than that of other olive fruits due to the climate in which they grow.
These olives might be tiny in size depending on when they’re picked. Nevertheless, Amfissa olives are meaty and have a fruity flavor when totally mature. Amfissa olives are excellent table olives, and olive oil is produced from them. They’re either black or green.
The Halkidiki olives are large green olives from Greece’s Halkidiki area. Halkidiki olives are known as the “donkey olive” because of their enormous size. To eliminate the harsh flavor of raw olives, Halkidiki olives are treated in salted brine. These brilliant green olives acquire a slightly tangy flavor with fruity scents as they ferment in the brine. Halkidiki olives are regarded as one of the finest table olives for certain individuals because they are the perfect Greek olive.
The La Rioja region of Spain or the Arauco region of Argentina are home to the arauco olive, a dark green olive. When the olive is still green, it is harvested and cured in a brine. Olive producers commonly use rosemary in the curing liquid to enhance its flavor. Olive oil, which yields a fruity oil with a spicy aftertaste, is frequently made from the big fleshy olive. Arauco olives may also be used as a table olive to experience the delightful salty flavor.
One of Spain’s most popular olive varieties is the Arbequina olive. These olive trees now exist in South America, Australia, and the United States because they have become such a popular variety. To emphasize their fruity taste, these little brown or dark orange olives are dried in brine. Most olive oil is made from olives since they contain a significant quantity of oil. Because of their mild flavor and small size, they are particularly popular as table olives.
Manzanilla olives are one of Spain’s most well-known kinds of olives, and they come from there. Sea salt brine is used to prepare this tiny green olive fruit. Manzanilla olives are similar to pitted green olives in brine that you may have tried at a store. Olives that are packed with pimento or garlic are the most popular kinds of olives available. Spanish Manzanilla olives are another significant source of Spanish olive oil due to their high output.
Gordal olives are Spanish olive varieties that ripen to a huge, rich green color. They’re the most common kind of olive produced in Spain. Due to its delicious firm flesh that tastes mild and slightly salty, this large “jumbo” olive is a popular table olive. When you crunch into a green olive, you can feel it has a firm bite.
Gordal olives are not utilized to make olive oil since they are not a sort of “oily olive.” Gordal olives are a typical tapas ingredient due to their huge size. They’re sold stuffed with cheese, peppers, or fruit.
The most common olive oil ingredient is picual olives. Picual olives are seldom available as whole fruits for purchase. Picual olives produce one-quarter of the world’s olive oil, despite their small size. The fact that the fruit weight is up to 27% oil explains why this type of Spanish olive is so efficient at producing oil. Olive oil made from Picual olives is a particularly rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols.
Verdial olives are a cheerful green olive that is separated from other varieties by their rich flavor. Table olives or with tapas, bright green Verdial olives are delicious. They’re usually packed in olive oil and have a hot, bitter taste and firm flesh. Verdial olives are one of the few olive types that stay green when fully ripe, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. They’re one of the most widely employed green olives in Spain, as they readily pick up other smells.
Castelvetrano olives are a green olive variety from Sicily, Italy, that is highly brilliant. These green olives are one of the world’s nicest olives, thanks to their delicate flavor. The fruits’ delicate texture and mild flavor are popular with wine or cheese lovers. Castelvetrano olives are probably the best olive to try if you don’t like the taste of bitter Greek or spicy Spanish olives because they don’t have a bitter flavor.
The largest kind of olive in Italy, cerignola olives are enjoyed as both black and green olives. Cerignola olives have a meaty texture and mild flavor. When prepared with olive oil and herbs, these fruits make excellent snacks. Whole fruits are pitted and filled with cheese, capers, anchovies, or garlic because they are giants of the olive world. A bright red variety of Cerignola olive is one of the most unusual. The artificial crimson color, however, is not a genuine variant of Italian olive.
The pleasant fruity flavor of Black Italian Gaeta olives makes them a popular variety of olive. Salads, pizza, pasta recipes, and cooked fish are just a few of the Italian recipes that use Gaeta olives. Lighter hues of melted cheese or green salad contrast nicely with their dark violet color. Olives are also served as an appetizer, and they are tart and salty. Dry curing wrinkled black Gaeta olives adds an extra dimension to the flavor.
Leccino olives, which have a sweet-spicy flavor and meaty flesh, are frequently found in Italian brown olives. Leccino olives are the most widely used olive for Italian olive oil because of their high oil content and production. Several nations cultivate Leccino olive trees to manufacture olive oil. To let their delicious fiery flavor shine through, these tasty brown olives are usually sold in brine with no other seasonings.
In the north of Italy, Ligurian olives are a tiny olive cultivar. The olive trees have a dark-brown color because they are picked when they are developing on the tree. These tiny dark Italian olives have a rich, meaty texture and a sweet flavor with no bitterness. These olives are frequently available in brine with garlic, spices, or herbs.
Lucques olives are a kind of unusual-shaped French olive. These tiny green olives with kidney-shaped lobes are excellent table olives with a nutty, sweet flavor. Lucque olives are considered to have a flavor similar to almonds or buttery avocados, according to some. Lucque olives stay green even when they are completely ripe, unlike most olive types.
The same cultivar as the Italian Ligurian olive, Niçoise olives are a kind of French olive. This French olive differs from its Italian counterpart by curing method. Outside of France, Niçoise olives are a rare breed of dark brown olives. The distinct flavor of the brown olives develops after they have been cured in sea salt brine for 6 months. They have a strong nutty flavor with bitter overtones and are consumed as a table olive.
The harvest of nyon olives is delayed until they are fully ripened, making them a true French olive. Nyon olives are typically tiny black olives that have been dry-cured in salt or oil. The wrinkled skin of the jet-black olives gives it a chewy texture. Rosemary or thyme may be added to enhance the bitter, yet mild flavor of the black olive.
The Picholine is a popular kind of olive today, and it is one of France’s most well-known green olives. During the beginning of the season, green Picholine olives are harvested and brined. Green cocktail olives are often made with the common green olive, which has a fruity flavor. At the conclusion of the season, when the fatty flesh is squeezed to create oil, certain olive producers pick black Picholine olives.
Cobrancosa is a Portuguese olive variety that is medium-sized. High-quality extra virgin olive oil is mostly produced using these Portuguese olives. The oil from the olives has strong, powerful taste with a peppery finish. Whole fruit Cobrancosa olives may also be purchased as a table olive. Olive oil and Mediterranean spices enhance the flavor.
Another kind of green olive grown in Portugal is the cordovil olive. The fruit size ranges from tiny to medium in Cordovil olive tree varieties. Green olives have a yellowish-green skin and are picked when green. Cordovil olives are mostly utilized to make excellent olive oil, similar to Cobrancosa olives. Cordovil olive extra virgin olive oil has a strong fruity flavor.
Galega olives, which are sold as whole fruit or olive oil, are one of Portugal’s most popular olive types. The flesh of this Portuguese olive cultivar is meaty and easily separates from the pit, with a sweet fruity flavor. These little olives are marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar with oregano, and are sold either green or black.
The White Olive of Malta
White olives, which were formerly popular in Mediterranean nations, are a unique and unusual kind of olive. While ordinary olives turn green to black as they mature, white olives lack the pigments in the fruit. These aren’t often sold commercially. They’re white-colored olives.
White olives are said to have a strong peppery flavor that is not unpleasant but has an obvious sweetness. White olive oil has a shorter shelf life than ordinary olive oil. It is not as healthy for you as ordinary olive oil because it lacks anthocyanins, an antioxidant pigment that gives olives their color.
Lugano olives are a black olive cultivar grown in Switzerland and are therefore a distinct kind of olive. The olive trees grow in olive groves near the town of Lugano in Ticino canton, despite their appearance of being an Italian olive cultivar. The firm texture and bitter flavor of medium-sized black olives Despite their salinity, some individuals like Swiss olives as a table snack. In foods where they provide an exciting taste, olives are also great to use.
The mission olive tree, which grows in California, is recognized as an American olive cultivar. Since the 1700s, olive trees have been growing in the western United States. The tiny fruits are generally picked green and brined after being harvested. Mission olive varieties, on the other hand, are also prevalent. Mission olive trees produce the majority of their oil when pressed, which is then marketed as high-quality olive oil.
The deep purple color and huge size of Alfonso olives are two of the most striking features. The purple olive types are cured in brine and red wine vinegar, while Alfonso olives come from Chile. Olive enthusiasts prefer the meaty, juicy olives because of their strong flavor. A distinct kind of South American extra virgin olive oil is also produced by pressing oil from the soft flesh of these olives.
Beldi olives, which originate from Morocco, are a tiny Mediterranean olive. Beldi olives are always gathered late in the season, when they are at their darkest and most ripe. As a consequence, a little black olive with strong spices is formed. Dry curing is used most often in Beldi Moroccan olives. With a rich, full flavor of ripe olives, this gives them a chewy texture. Beldi olives have a strong flavor and are worth trying if you like olives.
Gemlik olives, which grow primarily around the Mediterranean, are another kind of black olive. When they are black, gemlik olives are harvested. These tiny to medium-sized fruits Gemlik olives are considered as some of the greatest olives ever tasted by many people. What makes Gemlik olives so special? The oil content of gemlik olives is quite high. Oil, salt, or dry curing are used to cure the black fruits. They can develop deep, rich flavors thanks to the curing process.