Black Olives, Pride of Italian Agriculture
Black olives are mature fruit, ready to be eaten or used in the production of extra virgin oil. Types of olives in Italy tell the story of a longstanding symbiosis between these trees, present throughout the national territory, and how Italians use them. Taggiasca, Frantoio and other black Italian olives have unique sensory characteristics, and noteworthy nutritional properties.
Black olives are high in energy value, but are also rich in mineral salts and phenols, meaning they are useful against cholesterol and cardiovascular problems.
Starting in the month of November, nets are rolled out, and harvesting begins by hand, or with special tools. Nearby, jars of brine are prepared, ovens are fired up and salt is readied depending on the style of traditional product. Without these processes, all types would be too bitter to eat.
Black olives make up one of the primary food items in the Italian diet, and it is for this reason there is such an incredible culture of oils and recipes (each variety with specific aroma and taste traits). A number of authentic dishes include the black olive, like red mullet al cartoccio and sauce alla puttanesca (with a base of tomatoes and anchovies). Remember, black means ripe!