10+ Facts About Olives You Didn’t Know

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Olives are one of the most favorite foods for their unique taste and undoubted nutritional benefits all over the world. Moreover, the olive oil made from olive juice is praised by everyone – food lovers, chefs, doctors, and cosmetics manufacturers.

To show the uniqueness of olives, I gathered 12 facts about olives that will completely change the way you think about this amazing fruit.

Olive oil is a pure olive juice
These are Kalamata olives: fully ripe dark purple, unripe green and stuffed. And the olive oil is a pure olive juice

1. Olive is a fruit, but many people think it belongs to the berry family.

Olives are an extremely useful fruit – their end product is a unique composition of the best olive oil made from pure olive juice.

2. Olive is just 1 – 2 cm (= 0.4 – 0.8 in) long.

You can find olives in different sizes depending on the olive variety.

For example Koroneiki, Tsounati olive varieties have small size olive fruits of up to a couple of grams in weight; Megaritiki, Throumbolia varieties have medium-size fruits up to 5 grams in weight, and Kalamon, Amphissis olive trees have large size olive fruits weighting above 5 grams.

Read more about why Greek olives are good for you.

3. Kalamata olives as well are named as “the king of olives”.

Kalamata olives are one of the most popular olives around the world and have a strong fruity flavor, with a smooth meaty texture. Kalamata olives are the new superfood suitable for cooking or salads with plenty of beneficial properties inside.

harvest potted olive trees when fruits are ripen
These are Koroneiki variety type almond shape olives grown in Kalamata, as well known as Kalamata olives

4. You can eat olives directly from the tree – it is no harm, but it will extremely bitter and astringent.

The olive picked from a tree tastes very bitter. However, if you put it into salty water or other brine and leave it for a while, it makes it less bitter and you can use it in your meal recipes.

5. Black and green olives are often considered to be of two different varieties, but its not.

The color of the olive depends on the maturity and ripeness of the olive. It is important to note that it is the same olive fruit but with a different ripeness level: green is unripe olive, and black is ripened olive fruit.

6. Black olives are a great snack with white wine, meanwhile, green olives suit better with red wine.

Both black and green olives are extremely beneficial and should be used on a regular basis to improve your well-being.

Read more on Kalamata olive oil health benefits.

green olives vs black olives differences & similarities
Check out green olives vs black olives differences & similarities

7. Bartenders put olives into a Martini to add some extra taste to it.

The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Follow this martini recipe, and surprise your partner by making a delicious Martini on a relaxing Friday night!

8. Season olives with various spices and add fillings to reveal the best taste characteristics of olives.

Gourmets advise choosing garlic, thyme, rosemary or paprika. Larger olives are extremely delicious, stuffed with salmon, tuna or cheese. Smaller ones are great for seasoning bread, pizza or salad.

are stuffed olives good for you
Read more about stuffed olives including 3 quick and easy recipes

9. Olives are often sold in opaque packaging, where the quantity of olives is measured in caliber on the label.

Usually, olive packaging is not a see-through and you are not sure which one to buy. So if you want larger olives, look for a code of the smallest caliber with numbers and a slash on the label.

And opposite, if you want smaller size olives, choose olive packaging with a larger caliber.

Koroneiki variety is the most suitable for great olive oil
These are green unripe Koroneiki olives which produce the most known best olive oil from Kalamata

10. About 90% of all harvested olives are used for olive oil and only about 10% are used as table olives.

Most of the harvested olives are pressed to make olive oil, the rest of them are used as snacks, ingredients in main dishes, addons in soups, and so on.

11. Olives are not native to the Americas, they were brought by the Spanish colonists.

 In 1700’s Spanish colonists brought the olive to the New World and as of then, people continued to cultivate olive trees in California, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and other places.

The first olive trees were planted in California at the San Diego Mission by Franciscan monks in 1769. 

12. California produces most of the olives in the United States.

California is where the majority of the United States olives are produced, and shares a similar climate with many of the Mediterranean countries known for their olive oil production.



Conclusion on facts about olives

There are hundreds of olive cultivars growing throughout the world where the variety of olives play a significant role in determining an olive’s color, shape, flavor, and beneficial properties.

I hope that by reading this article you have learned a few key facts on how to differentiate olives, how to use them, and what is the history behind this small fruit.

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