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Classifying Olives - one of Italy's favourite foods

Most of us have tried olives and at first you may have immediately loved the taste of olives, while others of you have acquired the taste over time and are now addicted. However you have become interested in olives, and quite possibly olive oil and everything connected to olives, you might well be curious as to the different types of olives, how they grow, how to treat them. You might want some ideas about olives also. Well, read on.

Italian olives

Olive Classifications

You probably realise that olives are classified as a type of fruit and is a fruit that until it is treated, would taste awful. If you have ever tried picking an olive directly off a tree and eating it, you will know what a bad idea it is and was (there are in unique cases a few you can eat direct from the tree). Olives need to go through a treatment process which often involves sodium and then a proper rinsing.

Classifying Olives by geographical region - You can classify olives in many ways including according to their size, shape, their type of skin, the sugar levels and also the oil levels on the olives. You perhaps could also classify the olives by country and region and even by colour.

Geographically, Italy is the biggest olive producer, with a yearly production of over 3 million tonnes of olives produced a year in Italy. Spain is the second largest produced, followed by Greece, Turkey and then Syria. The olives from these different regions are affected by factors such as the fertility of the land, hours of sunshine and the way they are treated differently in different regions.

Olives by size - Size can also be a way in which olives are classified. Generally, olives which are between three and five grams are considered small olives, whilst olives which are heavier than 5 grams are considered large olives.

Olives and stones - I am not sure about you but I find olives with stones are far far better than olives sold or served without a stone or pip. Olives which still have the stone in leave the olive with a harder and slightly tougher texture and this makes the taste slightly improved.

Oil Content - The oil content in olives can be different and ideally, the oil content will be as low as possible. Black olives normally have a higher oil content wheras green olives have a lower oil content.

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