Suppression

Olives and olive oil

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

The olive Olea europaea, meaning "Oil from/of Europe" is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as the Levant, northern Saudi Arabia, northern Iraq, and northern Iran at the south of the Caspian Sea.

Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of both olives and olive oil. The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees (Fraxinus). About 90% of all harvested olives are turned in to oil, while about 10% are used as table olives.

Table olives are classified by the IOC into 3 groups according to the degree of ripeness achieved before harvesting

  • Green Olives. Picked when they have obtained full size, but before the ripening cycle has begun. Usually shades of green to yellow.
  • Semi-ripe or Turning Colour Olives. Picked at the beginning of the ripening cycle, when the colour has begun to change from green to multi-colour shades of red to brown. Only the skin is coloured as the flesh of the fruit lacks pigmentation at this stage, unlike that of ripe olives.
  • Black Olives or Ripe Olives. Picked at full maturity when fully ripe. Found in assorted shades of purple to brown to black.  Black olives when really ripe are neither bitter nor salty and taste almost fruit like

My abiding memory of the countryside of Spain is the sweet smell of the huge heaps of olives piled up after pressing, the aroma is undescribable but magical.

Background

Olives are processed both to make them more tasty and also to help preserve them. “There are many types of preparations for table olives depending on local tastes and traditions”. For example:

  • Spanish or Sevillian type - Olives, generally green, are soaked in brine, then left to ferment.
     
  • Sicilian, Greek type - applied to green, semi-ripe and ripe olives. The process is almost identical to the Spanish type fermentation process
     
  • Picholine - can be applied to green, semi-ripe or ripe preparations. Olives are soaked in lye typically for longer periods than spanish style. They are then washed and immediately brined and acid corrected with citric acid to achieve microbial stability. A series of progressively stronger concentrations of salt are added until the product is ready to be eaten.
  • Water-cured type - can be applied to green, semi-ripe or ripe preparations. Olives are soaked in water or weak brine and this solution is changed only a daily basis in a continual soak-wash cycle. Once debittered the olives are brined
     
  • Salt-cured type - applied only to ripe olives and usually produced by Morocco or Turkey and other eastern mediterranean countries. Once picked, the olives are vigorously washed and packed in alternating layers with salt. The high concentrations of salt draw the moisture out of olives, dehydrating and shrivelling them to they look somewhat analogous to a raisin. Once cured, they are sold in their natural state without any additives

Method

 Use virgin olive oil for salads, use ordinary olive oil for cooking.  Olives are lovely with choped herbs, stuffed with feta cheese or cottage cheese, or stuffed with red peppers or anchovies.  They go well in paellas, in all sorts of salad including those incorporating fruit and avocados.  They can be added to Moroccan style dishes [cous cous and dishes with chick peas and red peppers] at the end.

They are delicious chopped with fresh tomatoes as a sort of salsa with freshly grilled tuna.  Chicken, chick peas, pickled lemons and green olives go well together. 

Nutrition

I put olives and olive oil together as I assumed that they should contain much the same nutrients.  The tables below have confused me.  The nutrients come from the USDA and they do not recognise the existence of a fresh black olive, a bottled black olive vacuum packed or virgin olive oil, in contrast they list over 200 varieties of breakfast cereal.  As such in this desert of culinary values, what follows may be wholly unrepresentative of the true nutritional value of olives.  I will search on your behalf to find papers from the French, Italians, Greeks and Spanish, who may be more clued up about the subject.

Even canned olives appear to be a reasonable source of calcium, which is useful if you are dairy intolerant, and iron. Olive oil is a good source of Vitamin E.

Olives, ripe, canned (jumbo-super colossal) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Release 26   Software v.1.3.1 Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

84.34

Energy

kcal

81

Protein

g

0.97

Total lipid (fat)

g

6.87

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

5.61

Fiber, total dietary

g

2.5

Sugars, total

g

0.00

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

94

Iron, Fe

mg

3.32

Magnesium, Mg

mg

4

Phosphorus, P

mg

3

Potassium, K

mg

9

Sodium, Na

mg

735

Zinc, Zn

mg

0.22

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

1.5

Thiamin

mg

0.003

Riboflavin

mg

0.000

Niacin

mg

0.022

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.012

Folate, DFE

µg

0

Vitamin B-12

µg

0.00

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

17

Vitamin A, IU

IU

346

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

1.65

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

Vitamin D

IU

0

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

µg

1.4

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

0.909

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

5.071

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.586

Cholesterol

mg

0

Other

Caffeine

mg

0


04053, Oil, olive, salad or cooking National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference  Release 26   Software v.1.3.1 Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion

Nutrient

Unit

Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

0.00

Energy

kcal

884

Protein

g

0.00

Total lipid (fat)

g

100.00

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

0.00

Fiber, total dietary

g

0.0

Sugars, total

g

0.00

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

1

Iron, Fe

mg

0.56

Magnesium, Mg

mg

0

Phosphorus, P

mg

0

Potassium, K

mg

1

Sodium, Na

mg

2

Zinc, Zn

mg

0.00

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

0.0

Thiamin

mg

0.000

Riboflavin

mg

0.000

Niacin

mg

0.000

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.000

Folate, DFE

µg

0

Vitamin B-12

µg

0.00

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

0

Vitamin A, IU

IU

0

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

14.35

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

Vitamin D

IU

0

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

µg

60.2

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

13.808

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

72.961

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

10.523

Cholesterol

mg

0

Other

Caffeine

mg

0

Observations

Related observations