Common Uses of Green Olives and Black Olives

Do you plan to buy Turkish green olives soon? Just so you know, there’s more to different varieties of olives than what the naked eye can see. Learn more about the differences between green olives and black olives.

Green Olives and Their Uses

Green olives are basically the unripe fruit of olive trees. These olives get their distinctive flavor from soaking a lye solution ahead of brining. The process is essential to get rid of the raw olives’ naturally bitter taste.

Green olives are rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. They also contain high levels of E and A. There are numerous varieties of green olive available in many grocery stores.

Green olives are often pitted but can also be stuffed with anchovies, capers, cheese, jalapenos, nuts onions, or pimentos. Common varieties of green olive include Cerignola, Manzanilla, and Picholine.

Green olives are rich in sodium, which means they have a savory salty flavor that has several culinary uses. Green olives can be enjoyed on their own. You can also toss them in a pasta or salad, use them as a garnish for martinis, or turn them into a tapenade.

Black Olives and Their Uses

Black olives are essentially the ripe fruits of olive trees. Olives, once they ripen, turn from green to a dark color that can range anywhere from a deep black color to light brown.

After they are harvested, the ripe olives go through a curing process that makes them much darker. Similar to their green counterparts, black olives are also high in monounsaturated fats, potassium, and calcium. They are also rich in vitamin A and E.

Black olives come in several common types. Kalamata olives, whose name is after the city of Kalamata in southern Peloponnese in Greece, are a type of Greek olives with a purple-brown color and mild flavor.

Another famous variety is the Italian Gaeta olive. The Gaetas are often confused for Kalamatas because of their similar appearance in both shape and color. However, the difference is that the Italian Gaeta tends to have an even milder flavor.

Black olives can also be enjoyed on their own as an appetizer or snack. They also make a wonderful addition to cheese plates and charcuterie boards. They are a favorite pizza topping and add tangy and salty flavor to pasta recipes and salads.

Can You Use Black and Green Olives Interchangeably?

The differences in flavor between black olives and green olives make it tricky if not impossible to use them interchangeably. When serving olives fresh as an appetizer or a snack, you can swap green olives for black olives.

But if a recipe requires a particular type of olive, it probably factors in the precise flavor profile of that olive. When you really want to substitute black olives for green olives, it is recommended to cook them for less time to help them retain most of their flavor. You can also cook down green olives to lessen some of their bitterness. However, make sure you adjust the salt in the dish to make up with the saltiness of green olives.

By Rafael Muhammad
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