What Do Olives Taste Like?

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Olives are fruits from the olive tree. These fruits come in different colors, like green, black, and purple. Many people have asked what do olive tastes like. There are so many answers to this question because of the wide range of olive fruits available.

The area that the different olive varieties are grown contributes to how either of the fruits tastes. Olives have been extensively used for cooking pasta salads and tapenade, among other dishes, because of their unique texture.

If you want to understand more about the tastes of the olives, then read on to get enlightened.

What do olives taste like?

Olives are healthy fruits that come in different kinds. They are distributed in Mediterranean regions, Spain, Greece, Italy, and many other locations worldwide.

Although many olives feature a bitter yet fruity taste because of the similarity in preservation methods, different olives have distinct flavors that make them stand out. So we will cover 10 types of olives and how they taste.

i. Gaeta olives 

Gaeta olives are native to the Gaeta region. They are black and oval-shaped and famously used in salads, pasta dishes, and pizzas. They have a fleshy and pleasant fruity taste; a reason they are widely consumed.

Dry-cured fruit has a black color, while brine-cured takes a purple hue. The curing gives the olives a mild tart salty taste that you enjoy when served as an appetizer.           

ii. Leccino olive

These olives are grown in Italy. They are dark brown or greenish-black in color with a sweet, meaty, and spicy taste, perfect for dressings.

iii. Lucque

Just like so many other olives, the lucque variety from France has a mildly salty taste. They also feature a sweet, meaty, and mushy taste with a buttery delight. This makes it perfect for serving your guests.

These olives feature a kidney shape that’s green in color. The color tends to fade quickly, so they are stored in brine. Some people have described their flavor as nutty, close to that of avocado or almonds.

iv. Cerignola olives

Ever heard of giant olives? Then these cerignola olives fit the bill due to their large sizes. They originate from Cerignola town in Apulia province in Italy. The fruit boasts of a bright red (artificial) color and a mild, meaty flavor.

v. Castelvetrano olive

These olives are grown in Sicily island in Italy and are among the tastiest olive fruits. They are green in color with a soft flesh that is sweet and crispy meat-like texture. You can enjoy castelvetrano olives with some cheese or wine.

vi. Verdial olives

Verdial olives are famous in Spain. They have a bright green color that they retain even after ripening. Their taste is somewhat spicy and bitter and is best served as table olives. Their high-fat content also adds a buttery taste to it. This fruits’ taste makes it versatile in many dishes because it quickly takes on other flavors.

vii. Halkidiki olives

These olives are grown in the Halkidiki region in Greece. They are big and have a bright green color that, upon ripening, turns into yellow. The raw Halkidiki olives are bitter to the taste. They get this spicy and fruity taste that makes them among the most loved table olives when cured.

viii. Beldi olives

Beldi olives are grown in morocco. They are harvested when fully ripe and having attained a black color. Mature beldi olives have a spicy and intense flavor. Since these olives are dry-cured, they have a chewy yet delicious ripe olive taste.

ix. White olives

These olives are among the rarest in the world and were once famous in the Mediterranean countries. The white olives lack the pigment that makes olives turn either green or black. They have this peppery taste with a hint of sweetness, so the peppery taste isn’t overpowering.

x. Alfonso olives

Alfonso olives are large and have a purple color. The fruits are juicy and have soft, delicate skins. Alfonso olives have a strong, astringent taste upon curing with red wine vinegar. The fruit is best served with wine.

What do Kalamata olives taste like

Kalamata olives are named after a Greece city that was reportedly where these olives grew first. They have a deep purple, close to black color, and are thinner than green and black olives. They have this almond shape with smooth skin. These olives are usually harvested after they reach maturity to avoid bruising them.

Freshly harvested olives are bitter like black olives. They are the first slit, then cured in red wine or vinegar brine with slices of lemon and some olive oil to reduce the bitterness. After curing Kalamata olives, their flavor changes to this rich, fruity and meaty taste with a notable sharpness that is so unique. The taste after curing does not match that of black olives.

What do raw olives taste like

Raw olives are Kelly green and hard. They are bitter to the taste. So bitter that eating them in that state is close to impossible. What makes the raw fruit bitter is the oleuropein compound that comprises 14% of raw olives. The olives’ bitterness is eliminated by bringing them into a solution. The process can be lengthy and can take up to weeks for the chemical to be eliminated.

Black olives taste

Black olives have a green color when raw. The black color is of ripe olive fruits. When raw, these black olives have a bitter taste, but upon curing with lye, the bitterness disappears, making them sweeter. What is left is a fruit containing more oil and lesser salt compared to the raw one. Black olives add a rich flavor to your taco, pizzas, bread, and sandwiches.

Green olives vs. black olives taste

The color difference between the green and black olive fruits is determined by the time they are picked and the curing process they undergo. The green olives are harvested before they ripen, while the black ones are harvested when ripe, giving them a sweeter taste than green olives. Upon picking, both varieties are passed through the curing process before eating.

Green olives are firmer and denser, with a much bitter taste than black olives. Oxidized black olives have a mild flavor. However, the taste is determined by the curing method used and the duration the process takes. Both olive varieties are perfect in many dishes and drinks and can be perfect even as a snack.

The nutritional benefits of both the black and green olives are quite the same. With black olives packed with monounsaturated fats and minerals, the fruits help lower cholesterol levels in our bodies.  On the other hand, Green olives contain polyunsaturated fat. This fat is not as beneficial as the monounsaturated fats in the body.

Why are olives so salty?

As you already know, olives can be bitter, and to get rid of that bitterness, they are brined in solutions. The brining process could take up to weeks, and the result is extremely salty olive with a slightly bitter and sour taste. That taste combination is so pleasant that many people can’t resist a bite of the fruit.

That, however, is not the case with everyone. Some people detest too much salt and wouldn’t enjoy them. To reduce the saltiness, soak the olives in some fresh cold water for some hours, depending on how salty you want the olives to be. Keep in mind that the whole de-salting process will lessen the bitter and sour flavor of the olive.

Frequently asked questions

1. Do olives taste like pickles?

The taste of olives and pickles is quite similar due to the curing methods used. Olives are usually pickled in brine after curing.

2. What do fresh olives taste like?

Fresh olives have a grassy bitterness that is hard to eliminate from your mouth.

3. Why do olives taste so bad?

 Freshly picked olives have an astringent taste that’s hard to ingest. The bitterness is caused by the oleuropein chemical, which is a powerful antioxidant. This chemical is the olive plant’s defense mechanism against mammals.

4. Can I eat olives every day?

Olive fruits contain lots of fat. They also have a high content of calories. You wouldn’t want to have too much of them as they would be just bulk in the diet. Olives also tend to have high levels of sodium and zero fiber. Too much of them would be risking weight gain and high blood pressure complications. So no matter how badly you want to have them, consume in moderation.

5. How can I add olives to my dishes?

Olives improve the flavor and texture of your food. You can add them to pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes.

Conclusion

You now do not have to wonder what olive tastes like. Not only do these fruits add a rich texture to your dishes, but they also enhance their flavor without overpowering garlic and other ingredients in your dishes. The good thing is that you can also eat them on their own as a snack!

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