Well-aware of the infinite benefits of olives and olive oil, the Romans thought that the humble olive deserved a lot more recognition. The Roman Aristocracy believed that good health was the outcome of two things- Wine and olive oil. The olive branch and its fruit were considered symbols of wealth, peace and prosperity. Technically classified as fruits of the ‘Oleo Europaea’ tree, a tree which thrives for decades, olives add a punch to your meals! Similarly, the oil extracted from olives forms the basis of Italian, Greek, Spanish and several other cuisines and dishes.
The colour of the olive is a measure of the ripeness of the fruit- green olives are picked before ripening while black olives are picked after. Both the varieties are generally soaked in brine (water and salt mixture) which helps in eliminating the natural bitterness, making the olives more palatable. Green olives are widely used for making stuffed olives- incorporating a wide number of ingredients that can be used as stuffing- pimentos, jalapenos, garlic, almonds, capers and many more. The Kalamata olive from Greece with its glorious purple-black colour and depths of flavor, is one of the most eminent varieties of olives around the world. Kalamata olives are known for the fabulous flavour they lend to a classic pasta puttanesca or a simple salad dressing. However, there are several other varieties of olives like Leccino and Taggiasche, slowly gaining popularity. The health benefits of both black and green olives are numerous. Green olives contain no fats or trans-fats and small proportions of vitamins and minerals. A typical Mediterranean meal largely comprises of olives and olive oil amongst other healthy ingredients. No wonder, consumption of a Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of osteoporosis, cancer prevention and is also strikingly high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Both black olives and green olives are also high in iron and are excellent sources of Vitamin E.
Use olives to garnish a dirty martini or as a pizza topping! With a little creativity- you can discover numerous uses of olives- a light, roasted garlic and green olive vinaigrette with orange to dress up a simple salad, a creamy garlic, chili and olive dip with crustini or crackers, sliced Kalamata olives in a minestrone or bisque, stuffed olives served as antipasti, for mains- whole or sliced black olives work well with pan-seared tofu, over wood-fired pizza or combined with sautéed porcini mushrooms & cherry tomatoes and stuffed in a rustic ciabatta. Add olives to your side dish potatoes, salads, sprouts or vegetables for a delicious flavour! Experiment with olives in your meals- whole olives, sliced, chopped or a flavourful pâté with mushrooms or onions! With its delicious taste, adaptability & the varieties available today, one is spoilt for choice. This also means there are so many more reasons to have a jar or two of olives stacked in your pantry!
Olive Tree Trading has a range of whole, pitted, stuffed, Kalamata, Leccino and Taggiasche olives, sourced from countries around the world, to savour your taste buds. Use these in simple or complex recipes, for dinners or drinks to add flavour and character to your dishes instantly!