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fresh olives?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am looking for olives that I can use when making pasta.  Not sure where to find them.  I also want to avoid vinegar.  So far all that I have been able to find are canned olives (which are in salt water), but I recently read an article discussing BPA in canned foods so I'm looking for an alternative.


The ones in the salad/refrigerated section all seem to have vinegar as a preservative. 


Is there such a thing as fresh olives?

post #2 of 8
Originally Posted by anoop View Post

Is there such a thing as fresh olives?

Fresh olives are bitter, you wouldn't want to eat them unprocessed. 


Canned olives are disgusting in my opinion. 


What area are you in? Here in Los Angeles some stores have olive bars (whole foods, gelsons, jons) where you can find a large choice of excellent olives. As far as I know the olive fermentation process usually involves adding vinegar though... so it may be hard to find palatable olives that haven't been brined in vinegar. 

post #3 of 8

Most olive bars also carry salt-cured olives. And some carry dried olives as well. You also can find them in a salt-water, rather than vinegar-based, brine.


Can I ask why you're avoiding vinegar?



They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 


I am in the Sacramento area.  I have seen the olive bar at Whole Foods, but haven't spent too much time at it.  The few times I looked, I couldn't find an offering without vinegar, but now that you mention it, I'll play closer attention the next time I'm there.  For some reason, I don't like the smell around the bar...and I'm not sure what it is.

Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post


Can I ask why you're avoiding vinegar?

I try to follow what is called a sattvic diet (from yoga philisophy).  That is a lacto-vegetarian diet but in addition also asks that we avoid onions, garlic, mushrooms, and vinegar.


To be fair, canned foods are not considered sattvic either, but between vinegar and canned, I chose canned because vinegar also doesn't agree with my body type from an ayurvedic (Indian holistic medicine) standpoint.

Edited by anoop - 12/25/11 at 9:10pm
post #5 of 8


Good Morning and Happy Holidays,


Firstly, I believe the aromas that you are picking up on, is the Brine in which olives are soaking in to guard against, drying up ... Not the olives themselves.


You could buy olives and wash off the brine, in either mineral bottled water or tap water.



There are many types of Greek, Sicilian, Italian, French, Maltese, Turkish and Spanish olives that are jarred in olive oil, however, whether vinegar has been added as Brine --- I am uncertain.


However, here are some websites in English that could answer the question, are there olives sold out of brine ? I live in Spain, as I am sure you are aware, and the only place to my knowledge to get olives NOT in brine, are to go to an OLIVE GROVE and buy them directly ... I could however, be incorrect. I learn something new daily ! And am very open and flexible to learning. ( Assoc. of Olive Exporters ) ( Tasting olive oils and olives, health and recipes ) ( Institute of Sevilla Oils ) ( English and Spanish ) ( French, English & Spanish ) the raw materials, olives and the productions processes


I would certainly contact a few growers and experience the picking, tasting and learn about this fruit as they are very healthy ... Also, they are used in Andalusia for Barbecuing, instead of carbon or wooden chips ... Delicious Olive Pit Grilled on Flame Fish or Potatoes or Veggies !





post #6 of 8


I wanted to add that there are 14 common varieties of Spanish olives plus, in a large array of zones, and here are the tasting notes of each:


1) arbequina:  extraordinaire fragrant ... a little bitterness and a slightly peppery however, with considerable sweetness. REGIONS:  Catalonia and Andalusia.


2) blanqueta:  intense fruitiness combined with good aromas. Apple, grassy greeness and a notable pepperiness. REGION: Valencia.


3) cornicabra:  a sensorial profile with fruitiness light almond flavor. REGION:  Castilla La Mancha and Valencia.


4)  Empeltre:  a green apple and balanced olive that is gently sweet. REGION:  Catalonia and Mallorca.


5) Hojiblanca:  has a very pronounced fruity taste with a hint of apple and a bit of bitterness. Highly  prized in olive oils by recognized Chefs.

REGION: Andalusia.


6) Lechin de Sevilla:  intense fruity olive with a presence of bitter notes and pepper. Gentle post gusto ( after taste ). REGION: Andalusia.


7) Manzanilla La Cacereña:  a banana, green apple and fruit bouquet of aromas, this olive, tiny and black hail from CASTILLA LEÓN.


8) Morrut:  a reddish toned olive, with a light taste of apple, has a lovely green almond aroma and taste. REGION: Valencia.


9) Picual: peppery and fruity, prized in olive oils, has fig and wood aromas. REGION :  Valencia.


10)  Picudo: also possessing wood and peppery fragrances, this olive comes from Andalusia.


11) Verdial:  Mint, fig and green almonds, the aromas are truly divine and it comes from Andalusia.


12) Manzanilla de Sevilla:  dark green and intense with bitter and peppery notes, this is largely used in producing table olives. Castilla La Mancha is the appelltion of this olive.


13) Extremaduran Morisca: an agreeable harmonious olive used for making olive oils.


14) Sevillenca:  A Valencian fruity olive with a slightly tropical banana aroma grows throughout Andalusia too.


I hope this has assisted you on your Olive Learning Path ...

post #7 of 8

Chances are, most of the olives you will find in the big grocery stores will have had vinegar added to the cure to help in preservation, although they may carry salt cured olives that were packed in oil.  It doesn't hurt to ask, but I've found that the people in charge of these olive bars really have very little clue about what they are selling.  Best bet is to look for a specialty shop (gourmet, Italian, Spanish or Greek shop or deli).  You'll have better luck finding a person who is knowledgeable about the olives they sell.


As for the concept of buying fresh olives, you may be able to buy "fresh" olives, but you probably wouldn't want to eat them like that.  Olives are naturally very bitter and quite hard.  It takes either a fermentation process or curing process (usually in a salt brine or lye solution) to leach out the bitterness, soften them up and make them palatable.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for all the info.  Today I did spend a lot of time at the olive bar.  The only olives that they had without vinegar was a dried olive, but it had some acid (can't remember which one now).  If I'm going to go the dried olive route, I thought I'd try these:


I guess I also got my original question about fresh olives answered.  Looks like people never eat them fresh?  In ayurveda, bitter stuff is good for you (when taken in moderation just like everything else) because it helps detoxify the body.  Bitter melon and fenugreek leaves are both very bitter but are still consumed normally in India.  I'm surprised olives aren't consumed fresh just because of bitterness.

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