Friday, April 02, 2010

Fresh-cured Olives

The coop now carries 4 variety of fresh-cured olives.

What are fresh-cured olives, you say?

These are olives that have never been heat-treated, or lye-cured. The olives we normally get in cans or large buckets (the Cerignolas, Picholine, 5-type, and Provencal) are pasteurized and stripped of a lot of the natural flavors. They've also been washed of all the naturally occurring olive oils that help preserve and flavor them. The black olives from Morocco are salt or dry-cured. These are packed in salt for at least a month and the olives tend to lose a lot of the natural flavor and texture.

The four fresh-cured olives that we carry are:

Castelvetrano - a bright green olive from Italy, most notably in areas around Sicily. Harvested when it is young and brine cured, the Castelvetrano provides a mild and slightly salty flavor when served as a table olive or for use in salads.

Coquillos - long considered one of the most versatile and well-known olive varietals on the market and the traditional ingredient in the classic Ni├žoise Salade, Coquillos are harvested in Spain and cured using artisanal methods in France. (This can actually sometimes include soaking the olives in brine for up to twelve months to remove the bitterness!)

Pistou - Soupe au Pistou, a minestrone-like summer soup that includes white beans, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, and vermicelli is the inspiration for this mix of olives, cornichons and pearl onions.

Tournante - as autumn progresses, the olive turns from pale green to yellowish green and then to brownish pink when it is known as l’olive tournante or ‘turning olive’. These "in-between" olives are a delightful fresh alternative to the green/black conundrum.

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