Olive Information

Talking About Olives

Olivada: An Italian olive spread, generally a simple combination of pureed Italian black olives, olive oil and black pepper.

Spanish olive: Picked young, soaked in lye, then fermented in brine for 6 to 12 months. When bottled, they’re packed in a weak brine and sold in a variety of forms including pitted, unpitted or stuffed with foods such as pimientos, almonds, onions, jalapenos, etc.

Brine: A strong solution of water and salt for pickling or preserving foods, including olives.

Pimiento: A large, red, heart-shaped sweet pepper that measures 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The flesh of the pimiento (the Spanish word for “pepper”) is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than a red bell pepper. Pimientos are the familiar red stuffing in green olives.

Tapenade: Hailing from France’s Provence region, tapenade is a thick paste of capers, anchovies, ripe olives, olive oil, lemon juice, seasonings and sometimes small bits of tuna. It’s used as a condiment and served with crudites, fish, meat, etc.

California black ripe olive: A green olive that obtains its characteristic black color and flavor from a seven-day process of lye curing and oxygenation. Mission and Manzanillo varieties make up small, medium, large and extra large sizes. Sevillano and Ascolano varieties make up jumbo, colossal and super colossal sizes. They are sold sliced, chopped, pitted and whole.

(Olivada spread flavors:)

Greece: A blend of black, green and Kalamata olives mixes with onion, garlic and basil.

Sicily: Green and black olives, mixed with carrots, celery, onions, red bell peppers and garlic. It’s blended with a seasoning of fennel, oregano and capers.

Tuscany: Green and black olives blended with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, and red and green bell peppers. It’s seasoned with balsamic vinegar,and Italians herbs and spices.

All about olives
The first olives were planted in California around 1789, by Franciscan monks at the mission in San Diego.

California has four main varieties – mission, manzanillo, sevillano and ascolano.

California’s primary growing regions are Tulare, Tehama, Glenn and Madera counties.

Once established, olive trees will produce for centuries.

Olives from the tree are too bitter to eat without curing. In California, most olives are green when they’re picked, then turn black during the curing process.

Store unused ripe olives in their brine in the open can and cover with plastic to allow oxygen to permeate. Opened cans may be held in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.