Ripe green olives: are oilier than under ripe ones. Olives that are tree ripened turn dark brown or black naturally, and while the majority of these olives are used for oil, the rest are brine- or salt-cured; they are usually packed in olive oil or a brine or vinegar solution.
Spanish olives: are picked young, soaked in lye, and then fermented in brine for 6 to 12 months. When bottled, they’re packed in a weak brine and sold in a variety of forms, including pitted, unpitted, or stuffed with foods such as pimientos, almonds, onions, and jalapenos.
Manzanilla: This is the common variety of Spanish green olive that is available either pitted or un-pitted. Manzanillas are also popular for stuffing, including with the pimento, as well as with more adventurous stuffings such as garlic, almonds or feta cheese. Note: Sicilian olives are similar to manzanillas and are often available in olive bars, with similar stuffings.
Kalamata (calamata): A popular Greek black olive that is harvested fully ripened and has a rich, salty flavor. These olives are not picked until they are fully tree-ripened, and so have a dark purple color and are soft and juicy. These are the olives typically found in Greek salads.
Preparation, uses, and tips: A staple of Mediterranean cuisines, are most often used as finger foods. Cooks also use them to flavor everything from pizzas to martinis. Olives can also be used in salads, spreads, and breads, and make a great visual and flavor accent in meat and vegetable dishes. Put olives on pasta for more flavor. Substitute pitted Kalamata olives for the black olive rings that typically appear on pizza.
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