One way of adding sophistication to any gathering is by having some olives on the table. Whether its used as an appetizer or mixed in salads and entrees, olives offer a distinct taste that adds flavor to any dish.
The commonly known types of olives would be the green and the black olives, many are unaware of the fact that there are many varieties from different countries.
Before we start looking at the different types of olives, let us first discuss a few basic points about this age-old fruit.
Lets start by differentiating black and green olives.
The only difference between green and black olives is the ripeness, with green olives being unripe while black olives are ripe.
These two types of olives first have to go through a curing process before it can be appreciated for consumption.
There are also different ways of curing olives such as brine cured, dry-cured or lye-cured, to name a few. This is an important stage since it such processes remove the bitter taste. This is an age-old process dating as far as 4,000 BC.
Whole, pitted or stuffed are the basic preparations used on this fruit. In most cases, green olives are sold either whole or stuffed, whereas black olives are often only pitted.
Green olives have a much tougher texture because it is unripe, which makes it ideal for stuffing other items such as cheese, garlic,anchovies.
The different types of olives are often characterized by their origin. Kalamata for example is one of the most famous olives that come from Greece. This variety is often black because it has the most flavor when it is harvested fully ripe. This olive is great on pizzas or blended with cream cheese for a tasty dip.
Gaeta is indigenous to Italy and is one of the countries well known olives, it is usually dry cured which is why it has a crumpled appearance. This olive is usually cured and bottled with a variety of herbs to add more flavor.
Manzanilla olives come from Spain and are usually green and stuffed with other ingredients.
There are many more types of olives from different countries. But regardless of their origin, olives always bring a certain sophistication to any dish.