Green olives are olives that were picked
before they are ripened. Black olives were picked ripe and dipped in an
iron solution to stabilize their color. After they are picked, green
lives and black olives are soaked in a milk solution of sodium hydroxide
and then washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a naturally
Then green olives may be allowed to ferment
before they are packed in a brine solution. Black olives are not allowed
to ferment before packaging, which is why they taste milder than most
green olives. Green olives that do not ferment before packing taste as
mild as black olives.
Greek and Italian olives are black olives
that taste sharp because they have not been soaked to remove their
oleuropein. They are salt-cured and sold in bulk, covered with olive oil
that protects them from oxygen and helps preserve them. Olives are a
high fiber, high fat food that derive 69 to 78 percent of their calories
from olive oil, a predominantly unsaturated fat.
A serving of five olives, green or black,
weighing 19 to 22 g, has 2 g fat. A serving of ripe olives has 1 g
dietary fiber while green olives has less than 1 g. Those that are on
low-fat and low-sodium diet should exclude or avoid this food.
When buying olives, look for tightly sealed bottles
or cans. Small olives are less woody than large ones. Green olives have
a more astringent taste than black olives. Greek olives, available only
in bulk, have a sharp spicy taste. Pitted olives are the best buy if you
want to slice the olives into a salad, otherwise olives with pits are
less-expensive and a better buy.
Always store unopened cans or jars of lives
on a cool, dry shelf. Once you've opened a can of olives, take the
olives out of the can and refrigerate them in a clean glass container.
In order to avoid having the olives taste too salty, bathe them in
olive oil before using.
Olives are also processed for its oil. They
are pressed to produce olive oil, one of the few vegetable oils with a
distinctive flavor and aroma. Olive oils are graded according to the
pressing from which they come and the amount of free oleic acid they
contain. The presence of free oleic acid means that the oil's molecules
have begun to break down. Virgin olive oil is oil from the first
pressing of the olives. Pure olive oil is a mixture of oils from the
first and second pressings. Virgin olive oil may contain as much as 4
percent free oleic acid. Fine virgin olive oil may contain 3 percent
free oleic acid, superfine virgin olive oil 1.5 percent, and extra
virgin olive oil 1 percent.
Olive oil is a more concentrated source of
alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) than olives. Because it is high in
unsaturated fatty acids, whole carbon atoms have double bonds than can
make room for more oxygen atoms, olive oil oxidizes and turns rancid
fairly quickly if exposed to heat or light. To protect the oil, store it
in a cool and dark cabinet.