Olives have become an incredibly popular healthy snack choice over the recent years and the options available to you have increased alongside this with varieties available including green, back, pitted and not pitted along with different named olives and olives that have been stuffed with a variety of fillings including cheeses, chilis, sun-dried tomato and lots of other flavour accompaniments.
Olives are used as one of the key ingredients in cuisines that come from Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean countries and are included in sauces, toppings on pizzas and even served as appetisers on their own. Culinary professionals know that the addition of some of these beautiful fruits to the dish they are creating whilst working on their Lincat LMR9 6 Burner Gas Oven or other commercial oven that allows them to cook on a larger scale than would be possible on your average domestic oven.
Olives are classed as fruits as they contain a stone in the middle and are a part of the family of fruits known as drupes (stone fruits). This family also includes mangoes, peaches and cherries. They are small and oval in shape with some varieties produced being green in colour and turning black as they ripen, and other varieties are green even when ripened. The majority of the olives that are produced in the Mediterranean countries, around 90 percent of them are used to produce olive oil. The grading of the olive – such as virgin and extra virgin, comes from the timescale and conditions in which the olives are picked and processed.
One of the main reasons people have switched over to using olive oil in their cooking and have introduced olives into their diet is due to the positive effect they can have on your overall health. They contain very high levels of Vitamin E and a variety of other antioxidants and these have been linked to improving your heart health and could give some protection against cancers and inflammatory and bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Olives were initially thought to be unhealthy due to their naturally high fat content, however although the fat content is quite high at around 15%, over 75% of this fat is a monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid which actually has some of the health benefits that have been mentioned. These amazing fruits also contain some other important vitamins and minerals including:
Iron – which appears in a high concentration in black olives
Copper – this is a mineral that people in the West usually have some level of deficiency in and is important as a deficiency can contribute to the effects of heart disease.
Calcium – which we know is key for the growth and health of our bones and helps in combatting against the risk of conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis.
Sodium – this is due to the fact that most olives are packed and stored in either brine water or salted water.