Today, olives are grown in countries on every continent except Antarctica. 90 percent of the olives currently harvested are destined for oil production. The remaining 10 percent is processed as table olives.
This food can be consumed ground, which is in the form of oil, or fresh, called table olives. In this case, a maceration process is required to remove the bitter taste they have as a consequence of a glycoside called oleuropein.
Depending on the geographic area in which they are grown, different varieties of olives can be supplied. From those used for the table, that is, as an alcoholic beverage or to be added as certain foodstuffs, or those used for the production of olive oil.
But before discussing the types of olives, it is important to clarify that these foods are also classified according to their color type.
Classification of Olives Trees
They are in three types depending on the color which varies according to the way they are collected and also the presentation.
- Green olives, these are obtained from fruits of normal size, which are taken at their optimal ripeness.
- Color changing olives, which are picked before they are ripe. The color in this case is usually purple, pink or even brown.
- Black olives, which are derived from unripe fruits. This variety got its characteristic black color thanks to special care.
Olive Trees Varieties
It should be remember that the main types of olives grown are intended to produce oil. However, there are many others that are intended to be consumed as alcoholic beverages or in recipes with different colors and presentations. This is the most famous.
This is a table olive that has great size and great taste. Cultivated mainly in Andalusia, Spain, it is the fruit of a tree with long and thick branches, while the leaves are very long and straight. Her best fitness is for a bandage and the average weight is 12 grams.
These olives are destined to produce oil, which acquires a certain aroma and aroma like olives and their bitterness. This variety is large, elongated and with one end ending at a point. Their tree harvests are regular and plentiful.
Like Picual olives, this species also produces olives of good size although they are more rounded. This species is used both for oil and for dressing and is grown mainly in the provinces of Seville and Huelva, Spain.
This olive is also used for tabletop consumption and for oil production. This fruit produces a fairly dense oil, with a color that can be yellow or bright, while the taste is not bitter, although it can be a little spicy.
Due to its quality of its fruits, it becomes of the most popular table varieties internationally. Cultivation as previously took place in Andalusia, but also in Extremadura, and in countries such as Portugal, Argentina, Israel and the United States.
It different from other types in that it is small, round and quite symmetrical. It is one of the varieties most valued for the production of oil, which is usually a fruit with a sweet taste and with an apple and almond aroma.
This variety produces olives that can be used for table or oil. The shape is sharp and symmetrical. And the cultivation mainly in the Tajo Valley, Spain.
The oil obtained from the fruit usually has a color that changes from greenish yellow to golden. It has a fresh aroma and special taste involving sweet and bitter with spicy undertones.
This species also has a double talent, in that it can do as much for the table as it does for oil. It is highly cultivated in the province of Seville especially, apart from Córdoba, Málaga and Granada.
The leaves of the tree are elongated, slightly curved and the fruit it produces is large and ovoid. The oil is deep green in color with the aroma of ripe fruit, while the taste is sweet with a hint of bitterness and itching.
With this olive oil, a soft and sweet-tasting oil with a fruity aroma is created. The color can be straw yellow or dark gold. The fruit is elongated, asymmetrical and widely cultivated in the community of Aragón, Spain.
It is a variation mainly from the Alora region, in the province of Malaga (Spain). This is the first type of olive in the country to have a Protected Origin Purpose. The fruit is of good size and very round. Usually eaten with seasonings.
Originally from Alicante and Valencia, it owes its name to the vivid color of the fruit. This species is intended for oil production. It is usually a green leaf color and has a fruity scent. The taste varies but the intensity is mild, with all bitter and spicy but also slightly sweet.
Cultivated in Castellón, Lerida, Valencia, Tarragona and Teruel, it is a variety that used to be used in the past, but due to delays in fruit production it has been left somewhat neglected. Even so, olives are medium in size, black and avalanche resistant. With this fruit you get a very good quality oil.
A characteristic of Seville, Cordoba and Cádiz, with this species producing a sweet oil with a fresh grass scent. It has a mild apple flavor with a bitter touch. The fruit has an ellipsoidal shape while the leaves are almost flat and short. Each weighs of the fruits average of 3 grams.
This variety is so named because it retains its green color after ripening. It has several subtypes depending on the area in which it grows (mainly Andalusia and Extremadura).
However, it is usually produced with oils with notes of almond and green olives. It is a large and sweet fruit, usually eaten as a table olive.
This is a type of purple olive, large and with large bones. They are very fat and have a bitter taste. It is a variety dressed with herbs and spices, as well as garlic and peppers in some cases.
Derived from Carrasqueña de Córdoba, it is a variety that produces smooth fruit and oil before oxidation. It tastes fresh with a light touch and aroma of apples and almonds.
Very common from Bajo Aragón, it is elliptical in shape with a slight tip and offers one of the most stable oils. This is due to its high content of oleic acid and polyphenols. It is an aromatic oil with a fruity green and a slightly bitter taste.
Olives are currently one of the most valued foods, mainly because of their nutritional value. But taste for them is nothing new. Its consumption dates back to ancient times and since the past it has consumed dressings.
Whether black, green, pitted, whole or stuffed olives, olives are one of the unmissable foods in the Mediterranean diet. Other than that, they are the appetizer par excellence for most people.
Currently, Spain is the main producer of this fruit, followed by Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, United States, Argentina, and Australia. It is important to underline that each country has special varieties that characterize their territory.
These fruits are rich in quality fats and are one of the few foods that contain all the essential amino acids: minerals, vitamin C, carotene (provitamin A), thiamine and fiber. Every 100 grams contributes about 150 calories. Which explains why they are so popular and consumed.