The humble olive has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years, which is a testament to just how popular olives are. Found in almost any kitchen across Australia, organic olives have a unique flavour profile, depending on their type and how they are cured, such as sour, sweet, bitter and salty.
As green and black olives are a very popular type in Australia, is there a difference between the two? Is one type better than the other? And how exactly did humans come to love the delicious taste of olives?
From bitter to delectable
Olea europaea (the botanical name for olive trees) are infamous for producing raw olives, which upon eating straight from the branch, will produce an incredibly bitter taste. So, how exactly did humans figure out how to make olives more palatable?
Humans had discovered basic methods such as soaking olives in water to reduce the bitterness, but this process took months to complete. Slight improvements were made over the years such as fermenting the olives in brine.
But it wouldn’t be until the Romans got involved when the process became much quicker. Their method replaced the brine with lye made from wood ashes, and didn’t require a few months to achieve editable and debittered olives.
Green or black – which one is best for people new to olives?
Organic olives feature a unique taste, so if one hasn’t tried an olive before and is wanting to give it a go, oxidised black olives will offer a more mild and bland taste. This is because they are subjected to an industrial oxidation process, canned and then sterilised in an autoclave. This is also the reason for their leathery, shiny and intensely black skin.
Is there a big difference between the two?
The simple answer is no, there isn’t much of a difference between green and black olives. Their colour simply represents their level of ripeness when picked and the curing process involved. Green olives indicate they were picked before they ripened and black olives indicate they were picked when ripe.
Is there a difference in terms of nutritional value?
There is no nutritional difference between green and black olives. Organic olives are full of minerals and vitamins including iron, copper, calcium, sodium and vitamin E. They also contain healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Olives also contain many plant compounds and antioxidants such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid and quercetin. These help to reduce inflammation, regulate blood fats and lower blood pressure.
Is there a difference when it comes to eating them?
Black olives are typically used in cooking as they were picked when ripe, such as pizza toppings, making tapenades and olive bread. Green olives can be enjoyed straight out of the packet, used in salads, served with an antipasto platter, placed in cocktails such as a martini and more.
If you have never tried olives before, grab yourself a packet of delicious organic olives and experience their incredible taste today!