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Olives
What type of olives are there in Greece?

The main categories of olives are as follows:

• Kalamon olives
• Green olives
• Black or blond olives (Konservoelia)
• Savoury olives
Konservoelia is the largest variety of table olives. It is mainly cultivated in central Greece (Agrinio, Amfissa, Atalanti, Agios Konstantinos) and also in Messinia and on the island of Evia.


What do green olives have in particular?

Green olives are gathered from the tree between the end of August and mid November. The olive is prematurely cut off the tree and with the appropriate processing it is edible within a short period of time from its harvesting. Mainly green olives are used to produce olive oil.


What do black and blond olives have in particular?

Black olives are gathered from the trees from mid November until mid January. The olives are ripe when cut off the tree (natural riping). Black olives are widespread in foreign markets with many names (Black olives of Amfissa, Black olives of Agrinio, Black olives of Volos) depending on where they were produced.
Blond olives are cut off the tree between the end of October and the end of November. The olives are gathered from the tree in mid-ripe condition. Blond olives with vinegar make an exceptional appetizer with ouzo.


What are Kalamon olives?

Kalamon olives constitute an exceptional variety of designation of origin table olives. They are harvested mainly in the prefectures of Messinia and Lakonia and widely, in terms of land and quantities, in the broader area of Agrinio. The olives are gathered in ripe condition between November and Christmas. With the appropriate processing (slitting, brining, vinegar) we have the cracked Kalamon olives in vinegar, which is a commercial name widespread in Greece and abroad. The particular characteristics of Kalamon olives that come from the areas of Messinia and Lakonia are that the olives are pointed at one end and that they have a strong dark black colour compared to the dark purple colour of other areas where this specific type of olive is cultivated.


What are Savoury olives; Why are they wrinkled?

The savoury olive is cultivated in Thassos, Attica, on the Aegean islands (Chios, Samos, Naxos) and in Crete. These are olives that have been left on the tree until March-April and have over-ripened; they have lost all their fluids (which is why they are “wrinkled”) and, naturally, they have become sweeter. In fact, locals tend to cut them directly off the tree and eat them, since they have the attribute of losing their bitter taste on their own during the time they become ripe on the tree.


Are olives distinguished in sizes?

Depending on the number of olives per kilogram, the following olive size categories have been listed internationally:

Size of olive (unit per kilogram)
ATLAS (81 – 90)
SUPER MAMOUTH (91 – 100)
MAMOUTH (101 – 110)
SUPER COLOSSAL (110 – 120)
COLOSSAL (121 – 140)
GIANTS (141 – 160)
EXTRA JUMBO (161 – 180)
JUMBO (181 – 200)
EXTRA LARGE (201 – 230)
LARGE (241 – 260)
SUPERIOR (261 – 290)
BRILLIANT (291 – 320)
FINE (321 – 350)
BULLETS (251 – 380)


How are olives preserved?

Any olives we buy must be preserved at home, because it is usually impossible to immediately consume them. The preservation method at home depends on the type of olive we have bought. Therefore, we preserve:

• In brine: Cracked or wrinkled olives. To prepare the brine, we slowly add salt to the water. (We test the salt content by dipping a fresh egg in the brine. The brine is adequate as soon as the egg rises to the surface and begins to slightly emerge out of the water).
• In vinegar: “Nerolies” (or vinegary). We prepare the brine in exactly the same way as for cracked or wrinkled olives. We add aromatic herbs and lemon peel. We add vinegar and preserve our olives there. The olives are marinated as long as they remain in that blend and they are otherwise called “provencale”.
• In oil: All olives are kept in oil, which plays the role of insulation (antioxidant). Olives sweeten in oil and lose some of their characteristics that they had acquired during their preservation in brine. The oil may be blended with the brine. According to this method, olives are immersed in the appropriate brine and are covered with a layer of oil so as to preserve the brine in a transparent condition and so that the surface does not become covered with a layer of mould.
• In the refrigerator: All olives, once they have been preserved using any of the previously mentioned methods, may be refrigerated for a longer period of time. They may also be preserved in the refrigerator without having gone through any other preservation process.
• In the freezer: Olives may also be preserved in the freezer. Freezing preserves them for six months, but it makes them softer and less firm.


When does harvesting begin?

Green olives are gathered as of August; black olives are gathered in December and Savoury olives are gathered between March and April. After a process of some days, they become available on the market


Are there producers that dye their olives?

In nearly all the countries of the world, in large supermarkets, one will find cheap black olives, mainly of a small size, that are, in fact, promoted as “diet olives” because they contain minimum salt. If you try them, you will find that they have a very poor flavour. These olives are produced in countries that have a mass production of green olives for cheap restaurants around the world, at the disadvantage that they cannot ripen in a natural way and obtain their black colour. These olives (that are cut off the tree while green), are marinated in various chemicals in order to soften and then they are “dyed” black with special edible dyes.


How and with what are olives stuffed?

As long as there is imagination, the variety of stuffed olives increases. Today we may offer a large variety of stuffed olives. Olives are cored (the olive stone is removed) and stuffed with entire almonds, feta cheese, garlic, green capsicum paste, natural red capsicums , jalapeno, orange, lemon, gherkins, etc.



















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