What Do Olives Taste Like?

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Quick Answer: What Do Olives Taste Like? 

Raw olives taste astonishingly bitter. They vary in color and taste; unripe green olives are salty and grow to be a mild-flavored red-brown which then proceeds to be a somewhat sweet fully ripe black olive. They are usually preserved in salt or brine to achieve the flavor we know of them. 

Here is a detailed guide on what Olives exactly taste like.

Let’s start!

What Are Olives?

Olives are small, seeded Mediterranean fruits, also known as Olea Europaea.

Most Olives are initially green and turn to black when fully ripened. They are a helpful source of fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and other antioxidants. 

They can be consumed as a snack, fermented or stuffed, or used as topping, as seen in numerous Mediterranean platters.  Olive oil has endless uses and benefits. 

What Do Olives Taste Like? 

Raw unripened Olives taste quite bitter and are hence, processed, fermented, and preserved before they are commercially consumed.

Most cultivated olives get turned into olive oil but are also widely consumed for their subtle tangy, salty, and sweet flavors once ripe. 

Different types of Olives differ in their taste. Picholines are salty, eaten simply as snacks, and more commonly seen with martinis.

  • Kalamatas are dark purple and give a tangy kick to dishes and dips.
  • Cerignolas are larger and meatier, ripen to be black and sweeter than the rest of their kind, perfect as a pizza topping or cheese board. 
  • Nicoises are purple-brown and have a tasty sourness, perfect for a salad dressing.
  • Moroccan olives have an intense bitter taste and have to be cured in salt to be added to meat-based dishes.

A short guide to the types of Olives –

What Is The Texture Of Olives Like? 

Olives have a firm and chewable texture. They are not hard but not too soft, not crunchy but have a dense bite. Different types have different textures. Oil processed Olives have an oily outer surface and are softer, meatier, and sweeter than raw unprocessed olives. 

Black Olives tend to have a slightly bitter yet sweet bite, comparatively much softer than the rest of its kind.

Why Are Olives Bitter?

Raw Olives are too bitter about being enjoyed in their raw state because of the presence of oleuropein, a phenolic compound. This helps the fruit protect itself from birds and mammals trying to consume it. 

Its intense bitterness can be avoided by not biting into a raw olive and only consuming it after it is oil-cured and commercially brined.

Black Olives are usually not much bitter because of the complete removal of the sad compound to give it a sweeter taste profile.

What Do Pickled Olives Taste Like?

Pickled Olives or Olives that have been processed in salt or brine for weeks and even months. Pickled Olives have a salty and somewhat sweet taste, unlike their raw form, which is bitter and almost inedible in that form.

Olives can easily be cured at home by placing in in salt or brine, where they undergo a natural fermentation process that releases their bitter taste leaving it a salty and even unique sweet flavor.

What Do Olives Taste Like In Pizza?

Olives used as toppings on Pizza add a nice and tangy salty flavor which balances out the other ingredients used in the pizza along with providing it with a unique texture to bite into. 

Processed Black Kalamata Olives are one of the most common types of Pizza topping for their subtle sweetness.

Do Olives Taste Like Alcohol?

Many describe the taste of Olives to be similar to that of Wine because both Olives and Grapes have polyphenol compounds which may make them have a similar taste. Canned Olives that have not gone through natural fermentation may also end up tasting like cheap alcohol.

Botanically-infused jarred Olives can well be alcoholic. Gin or vodka-infused Olives are commercially sold; one alcohol-infused Olive is equivalent to one shot of hard liquor.

Are Olives Sweet?

Olives that have been preserved in brine or dry-cured Olives tend to be sweet and have an intense flavor. Fermentation releases the bitterness from the fruit, making it slightly salty and sweet in most cases.

The salts present in the brine pull the acidic bitterness from the Olive, which does not allow us to consume it raw through the fermentation process and takes days to do so.

Here is how you can cure your Olives yourself!  

Do Olives Taste Like Pickles?

No, Olives and Pickles do not have any similarities in taste or appearance. Olives have a slightly bitter and sweet taste while pickles have a certain acidic sourness that does not leave any space for similarities in their taste profiles. 

Even in nutrition values, they do not have many similarities, except they are both rich sources of calcium. Olives are rich in iron but have nearly 30% more saturated fat content than dill pickles.

What Tastes Better Green or Black Olives?

While all Olives have a bitter taste when raw, Black Olives seem to taste better than Green lives due to their slightly tangy sweetness. The difference in taste is, however, because of the mode of preservation and packing. 

Both Black and Green Olives are cured in brine and preserved to lose their bitterness.

Black Olives tend to have more oil and less salt than Green Olives giving them a better taste profile.

Can You Eat Olives Raw?

No, raw Olives are too bitter for direct consumption because of the presence of oleuropein, a phenolic compound that gives it the distinct bitter quality.

Olives of all kinds have to be soaked in lye before it is preserved in brine or salt to lose the bitterness.

Once cured or processed, Black Olives tend to have a somewhat tangy and sweet taste, while Green Olives are saltier.

Most get turned into Olive Oil, but many are also used as toppings or garnish in countless platters around the world.

In The End

I hope this elaborate journey to the land of Olives helped you learn about the taste of Olives and their types. 

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About Irene Clark

Irene is a supermom of 4 kids who always has a smile on her face. She's an amazing dancer - you should see her moves! - and she loves to eat, especially with wine. She also loves pop music and travels across the country with her family and friends.

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