In Greece, olives are prepared with minimal processing which gives them a natural, balanced taste and a good, firm texture. Regular black olives are harvested whilst still green and then dyed black. Natural Black olives including Kalamata, are different to regular olives as they are only harvested when ripened on the tree and cured with just salt and water.
Which are the Best Olives?
As a general rule the smaller the stone and the greater the flesh the better the olive. Ultimately it comes down to your personal taste and what you are using them for as they are all quite different!
- Green olives should be firm and fleshy in texture with a distinct bite, perfect for a garnish with your favourite martini.
- Black olives are picked before they are ripe and soaked in a dye, removing most of their natural flavours. They are typically much cheaper than natural black olives and good for cooking with.
- Natural black olives are not uniform in colour, and they are generally a shade of purplish/brown rather than black. They have a more intense flavour, perfect for serving on a meze platter.
Studies have linked Greek olives in diets to have a number of health benefits. Kalamata olives contain antioxidants that positively affect certain cholesterol levels and in turn, reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Olive Grove
An olive grove is a small wood planted with olive trees. Only a handful of olive groves continue to harvest their olives by hand. Our olives are produced in the traditional Greek way, in which they are left to ferment in brine for 9 months, without adding caustic soda to speed up the process. This old-fashioned approach preserves the taste and nutritional quality and doesn’t waste as much water as mass-produced methods either. Once the olives have been picked, they are cured on the same day.
We are proud of the close personal friendship and working relationship we’ve established with Rovies and are delighted to offer these incredible olives to buy online under the Rovies and Odysea brands.
Growing & Harvesting Olives
There are somewhere in the region of 800 million olive trees in the world, and over 90% of these can be found growing in the Mediterranean. Blossom will appear on the trees during the Spring, with the olives becoming fleshier and forming a hard stone in the centre in the Summer.
After ripening, harvesting will take place during the Autumn months, with the precise time varying according to the type of olive required:
- Green Olives are Harvested at the “unripe” stage around September, these olives vary in colour from leafy-green to straw-yellow.
- Blond Olives: These olives are harvested in September/October when semi-ripe, during the “turning” stage from green to black. Colours can be anything from light green-yellow to shades of light brown. These olives are firm but will not have the same bitterness as green olives.
- Natural Black Olives: Natural black olives vary in colour from light brown through to deep chestnut, the skin is still fairly firm but the flesh will be much softer and more loosely attached to the stone than that of green olives. These olives are harvested at the “ripe” stage.
- Kalamata Olives: With their rich fruity flavour, meaty texture and distinctive almond shape it is easy to see why the Kalamata is considered the “queen” of all Greek olives. These olives should be plump with glossy skin and show a slight variation in colour from deep chestnut through to dark purple. Like natural black olives, Kalamata olives are harvested when ripe.
At Odysea, we ensure that all our olives are harvested by hand ensuring no wildlife are harmed by machinery.