Black olives appear almost in many delicious dishes—pizza, salads, cocktails, you name it. Did you know the fruits are high in antioxidants and many other types of nutrients? Now, that we love the shiny dark “gems” even more! Read until the end of the article to find out more about the fatty fruits.
The Origin of Black Olives and Mythology about the Fruits
If we look at the ancient mythology, olive trees have existed since 20-40 million years ago. Grown in the Mediterranean soil, olive trees were a sacred symbol of peace, victory, health, harmony, and vitality. They were originally from the country we know as Turkey today. Up until now, olives have affected the Mediterranean culture—especially the Italian—since 7,000 years ago.
As a matter of fact, in Greek ancient mythology, a Greek Goddess, Athena was declared as the winner over competition against Zeus—a Greek God—as she gave the olive tree as a gift to the humankind.
Olives are handpicked from the trees before and after reaching their ripeness (green and black olives). Then, they are used as an ingredient in potions, daily food, and oil as a great source of nutrition.
What are Black Olives?
Olives (Olea europaea) come from small trees in the Oleaceae family mainly found in the land of Mediterranean. Almost 95% amount of black olives in the world come from the countries in the land even though it takes 3-12 years for the trees to fruit. That is why olives are seen as one of the valuable belongings when the fruits start to grow.
Nowadays, black olives are commercially sold in different varieties of a product such as cured olives, stuffed olives, garnish on many delicious foods, and olive oil. Even though most table olives are produced in Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, Portugal, Morocco, and Tunisia, California in The U.S. remains the biggest black olive producer.
The shiny black “gems” are now one of the biggest numbers of fruit crops cultivated and harvested throughout the world. It is just mesmerizing, knowing that they are still hand-picked by humans.
Black Olives Nutrition
There are no differences regarding nutrition in green and black olives. Both kinds have more or less the same amount of nutrients. The difference only lies in their ripeness.
If a single olive weighs 4g, then a pack of black olives—of 100g or approximately 20 olives—contains:
- Around 94 calories
- 866mg of sodium (depending on the brands)
- 02g of fat
- 32g of carbs
- 5g of dietary fiber
- 74g of protein
- 14mg of potassium
- 13g of sugar
- Calcium (6%), Vitamin A (6%), Magnesium (1.5%), Vitamin C (1%), Vitamin E (9.5%), Iron (11%), and Copper (3%)
Carbs in black olives are considerably low; therefore it is safe for you to snack on the fruits—as long as an ideal serving. So are the black olives calories. It is good news to those who are now on the trending Keto diet—a low-carb dieting method.
Are Black Olives Good for You?
Black Olives nutrition offers a large variety of health benefits, as follow:
- Cancer-fighting content
- Heart health keeper
- Blood sugar control and preventive for Diabetes
- Natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever
- High blood pressure treatment
- Hair and skin care substances
The health benefits of black olives mentioned above also show us why they are considered valuable. So, yes, they are good for you.
Black Olives Vs. Green Olives
The color of the olives linked to the ripeness when they are picked, as well as the curing process they get through. Green olives are picked before being ripe while the black ones are picked when it is ripe, that means when the fruit color turns from green to black. Freshly picked olives cannot be eaten directly as they taste very bitter. Therefore, both black and green olives are cured in salt, water, and brine (salt water solution) before being consumed.
Speaking of the benefits of black olives and the green ones, there are no significant differences between them. Olives are enhanced with a high level of polyphenols, vitamin E, and flavonoids that are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. They are also rich in monounsaturated fat, copper, and iron.
Tasty Recipes Involving Black Olives
Black olives have always been a favorite of many families. There are numerous meals from various countries that involve black olives as ingredients. The following are some of them:
Spicy Black Olive Tapenade
Have you tried tapenade before? It is a well-known Texas home-made meal that can be enjoyed with crackers and toasts. This appetizer is actually pureed black olives, capers, anchovies, basil, and a splash of lemon juice and olive oil. It is easy to make and tasty, so you had a better rush to the kitchen to make some now!
Another tasty appetizer/snack that you can serve and enjoy in every party you throw. Nachos are always fun and easy to make. Firstly, deep-fry dumpling wrappers to make the Nacho chips. Then, prepare Italian Nacho’s toppings such as shredded grilled chicken, chopped Italian sausages, sliced black olives, as well as chopped basil and sundried tomatoes. Do not miss out on Alfredo sauce and melted cheese to add more tasty stuff. Yummy!
Marinated olives and cheese
It might sound odd to some, but in countries within the Mediterranean territory, it is common—and it surprisingly tastes delicious! You only have to cover your favorite cheese and black olives in a mixed dressing of garlic, rosemary, pepper, and other kinds of herb.
Consider this before You Munch on More Black Olives
Despite the health benefits of black olives that undeniably good for your health, they still have a deficiency in several things. You have to be on a nutrient and fiber-rich and fat-controlled diet to enjoy black olives on a daily basis, considering the high level of sodium as a result of curing process (270mg of sodium in every six whole canned/cured black olives which is 12% of the suggested daily serving). That is bad for your blood pressure and heart health. Therefore, it is important for you to limit your sodium or salt intake in a day.
So, enjoy your black olives with your favorite meals and have a great day!