- Are all olives originally from Europe?
Cultivating and eating olives is an integral part of Spanish tradition, but olive trees have existed for centuries throughout the Mediterranean in Europe, Africa and Asia. They were also a big part of the Phoenician, Roman and Arab cultures. There are three main types of Spanish olives in Canada: Queen or Gordal (green olives), Hojiblanca (black olives) and Manzanilla (green olives often stuffed with pimientos).
- How are European olives cultivated and produced?
The fruit of the olive tree, the olive, is harvested and then classified by type and variety. Our olives are the result of more than one hundred years of agricultural know-how. They are grown in huge olive groves benefitting from mild coastal climate conditions. To protect the olives from damage, farmers pick them one by one. Some are used for olive oil production, others go through a fermentation process to preserve their full flavour, aroma and colour. These are served as delicious table olives.
- Are there only three types of European olives?
Manzanilla, Hojiblanca and Gordal olives are just the three most popular types. There are more than 700 different olive varieties in Europe.
- How are European olives different from others?
Spain is the largest olive producer in Europe and in the world. It’s not surprising considering olives have played an important part in Mediterranean culture and cuisine for more than 2,000 years. With a large number of microclimates across the country and 300 days of sunshine per year, Spain has an incredible range of olives. This has resulted in soil that is particularly rich and fertile, which is ideal for producing delicious olives. In addition to their high-quality texture and flavour, European olives are recognized around the world for their different varieties. They can be used for many different recipes and occasions. European olives are especially popular as table olives because they’re carefully hand-picked, have a mid-range fat content, a small smooth stone that’s easy to remove and dense flesh and delicate skin.
- How many olives are recommended per day?
One hundred grams of olives contain 150 calories. Therefore eating seven olives per day could be a good amount. By comparison the same quantity of most popular processed snacks can reach up to 500 calories. Olives are also nutritious: 50 percent water and a great source of minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, etc.), fibre and oleic acid.
- How should I store my European Olives once opened?
If the olives are submerged in their brine and kept away from heat and direct sunlight, they will last up to six months at room temperature. However, it’s always a good idea to keep them refrigerated.
- How can I incorporate European Olives into my diet?
Ready to eat, olives are very versatile and the perfect ally in your kitchen. It’s as simple as opening the jar and enjoying them! Olives are ideal as a snack or for an improvised aperitif. If you have five minutes, you can make a simple dressing with olives and your favorite herbs. If you’re feeling more creative, you can choose from hundreds of recipes that feature olives, ranging from a quick and easy dish to an elaborate gourmet meal. Some of the best desserts include olives as a secret ingredient. They deliver an explosion of flavour and counterbalance the sugar in the dish. Pitted, whole, sliced, served as a snack or in a sauce, there are countless recipes that allow you to incorporate European olives into your daily diet.
- Where can I buy European olives in Canada?
Any supermarket or convenience store is sure to have European olives on its shelves. You’ll find mainly three types of Spanish olives in stores: Queen or Gordal (green olives), Hojiblanca (black olives), and Manzanilla (green olives often stuffed with pimientos). They come in several different formats: cans, jars, plastic containers, and even in bulk for professionals.
- How do I know if the olives I buy are from Europe?
The varieties mentioned above are from Europe, and you should be able to confirm that by looking at the back of the package. European olives can be found in jars, vacuum packed and in bulk in most supermarkets and specialized stores. If you’re unsure, look for Gordal, Hojiblanca and Manzanilla olives, and check the container for the country of origin. Also you can check for the logo “Olives from Spain”.
- What is Interaceituna?
Founded in 2004, INTERACEITUNA is the Table Olive Interprofessional Organization. It is recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment and represents the entire sector responsible for producing, processing and marketing table olives. Created to implement several programs and activities of general interest, INTERACEITUNA promotes the sharing of knowledge about Spanish table olives and carries out research and development related to processing and production techniques.