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The Olive is the fruit of the Olive tree (Olea europaea) and is a major component of the agriculture and gastronomy along the Mediterranean both in Europe and North Africa, as well as in the Middle East. Gourmets from the Roman empire to the present day have valued the unripe fruit, steeped in brine, as challenging to the palate. Olives are harvested in September but available year round to make a zesty addition to salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.
Olives cannot be eaten right off of the tree; they require special processing to reduce their intrinsic bitterness. These processing methods vary with the olive variety, region where they are cultivated and the desired taste, texture and color. Some olives are picked green and unripe, while others are allowed to fully ripen on the tree to a black color.
Olives should be washed very well before placing on the chopping board. You may chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces or big chunks depending on your preference and recipe requirement.
Chopped stuffed olives
The stuffed olives can be chopped in to small or big pieces as per recipe requirement.
You may place the olives in a slicer or slice the olives in thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.
Olives can be stuffed with peppers, almonds and srved with alcoholic beverages as appetizers.Sliced stuffed olives
- the stuffed olives may be sliced into thick or thin slices as per choice and used in various recipes.
How to select
While olives have been traditionally sold in jars and cans, many stores are now offering them in bulk in large barrels. Buying bulk olives will allow you to experiment with many different types with which you may be unfamiliar and to purchase only as many as you need at one time. While whole olives are very common, you may also find ones that have been pitted, as well as olives that have been stuffed with either peppers, garlic or almonds.
" Olive tapenade is a delicious and easy-to-make spread that you can use as a dip, sandwich spread, or topping for fish and poultry. To make it, put pitted olives in a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and your favorite seasonings.
" Toss pasta with chopped olives, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs of your choice.
" Marinate olives in olive oil, lemon zest, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
" Add chopped olives to your favorite tuna or chicken salad recipe.
" Set out a small plate of olives on the dinner table along with some vegetable crudités for your family to enjoy with the meal.
How to store
If you purchase olives in bulk, make sure that the store has a good turnover and keeps their olives immersed in brine for freshness and to retain moistness. Olives will keep freshest if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
" Olives are high in Monounsaturated fat, iron, Vitamin E, and dietary fiber.
" Naturally ripened purple/black appearing olives contain anthocyanins. This does not include artificially ripened "black olives" that are frequently canned and sent to grocery stores.
" The anti-inflammatory actions of the monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and polyphenols in olives may also help reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, three conditions where most of the damage is caused by high levels of free radicals.
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