Fun Olive Facts

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  • Are we (California) the Olive Kings?
    Not even close. California has approximately 37,000 acres of Olives. Spain has approximately 5,600,000 acres of Olives.
  • I love Olive oil. How much oil do I get from Olives?
    The oil content varies by the variety of olive. Each variety has a different amount of oil content. For example: one ton of Sevillano Olives yields 30-35 gallons of oil. One ton of Koreneki variety of Olives yields 40 to 50 gallons of Olive oil.
  • Do black Olives come off the tree that same color?
    The California black “ripe” Olive, the ones that adorn pizza, kids put them on their finger tips, are green when they are harvested. The Olives become black during the process. All Olive varieties go through the same changes. They flower, have fruit set, become green...then they get mature. After that the color change starts. First green, the a reddish tint, then purple, then black, then they fall off the tree.
  • Why de-bitter Olives? Don’t they come off the trees ready to eat?
    The Olive is the only fruit that is decidely bitter, even when ripe or over ripe. The bitter component is a glucoside compound called Oleuropein. It is a nasty trick to entice someone to taste an Olive off the tree. Don’t do it.
  • Is the Olive a fruit or a vegetable?
    The Olive is a drupe. A fruit with skin, meat inside and a single stone.
  • Curing or De-bittering?
    I have stopped describing the way to make olives edible using the word "curing". Now when I hear curing I think of bacon. I learned from my friends in Australia and New Zealand a much more appropriate term...de-bitttering. That describes what is being done to the olive to make it edible perfectly.

There are some great books with recipes (we’ll put up a book list someday soon), or better yet, come to one of our Olive curing seminars.

Buffie Francisco