Olives

There is no other food that can rival the olive for its role in cultures throughout history. The olive tree has been revered by many cultures as sacred and immortal. Even today its branches symbolize peace and its oil signifies prosperity and purity. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world – being grown before the written language was invented.

Olives are a great choice for a low-calorie snack or recipe ingredient.  They add flavor and variety with only 7 calories per extra large olive (California ripe olive).  Most folks think olives have more calories than other foods.  Recent research reveals that many consumers think black ripe olives have more than 5 times the number of calories than they actually have.  The truth is olives are a great low calorie food.  This just goes to show that not everything that tastes good has too many calories.

Furthermore, olives are a great low fat alternative to traditional snacks.  Not only are olives a low in fat food, but they are an excellent source of good fats that help lower bad cholesterol.  The fatty acids in olives are highly monosaturated.  Olives are also a cholesterol-free food.

Today there are more than 200 olive varieties, each with a unique application that can add flavor and appeal to any dish. Some of the most popular cured olive types are:

Kalamata: Beautiful and dark, its intense flavor stands up to lamb and swordfish and completes a Greek salad.

Picholine: Creamy, nutty and chewy, this is the ideal choice for antipasto platters.

Nicoise: Nutty, fragrant and form, add this classic flavor to fish or serve as an aperitif.

Black Ripe: The American classic. This plump, mild favorite is perfect on pizzas and salads.

Green Ripe: Similar, but slightly more salty than the black ripe.

Sicilian: Crisp, crunchy and great with fish or pork.

Dry Greek: An excellent cooking olive that adds complexity to pastas, veal and tomato sauces.

Spanish: The ideal cooking olive is slightly lemony and sour, making it perfect for fried foods.

Cerignola: Large, fruity and buttery, this is a great olive to marinate and serve with a variety of appetizers.

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