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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kalamata Olives

I had to demo these about ten days ago and wondered about them so I did a Google search, as I do all the time when I’m doing research. 

I learned these olives are all handpicked to avoid bruising.  Harvesters can also shake the trees and the ripe olives will fall off into a net set up below the tree.  The olives are grown in Messenia and Laconia on the peninsula of Peloponnese in the southern part of Greece.  Kalamata olives cannot be picked green and are intolerant of cold weather.  The leaves on these trees are twice the size of other olive varieties.

 Kalamata Olives from Wikipedia
These trees are slow growing.  The fruit ripens between mid-November and early January.  An amazing fact about these trees is that they can stay alive for thousands of years but most farmers graft them about every fifteen years to ward off diseases that can affect fruit production.  The root system of these trees extends widely beyond its base to optimize moisture in the arid region on which they grow. 

The olives are packed in water and brine for about a week and then drained and packed in wine vinegar and brine with a layer of olive oil and lemon on top.  All this processing is to debitter them, but even after all this they have a slightly bitter taste due to the polyphenol in the olives.

Polyphenols are antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil.  This group of antioxidants may fight against aging-related diseases diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol and certain types of cancer.

Kalamata olives are table olives with a salty and tangy taste.  They’re one of the most important food items imported from Greece all over the world.  They also pair up nicely with feta cheese and are good in recipes, such as sandwiches, pizza, rice and salads.

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