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Olive lovers unite around the delicious-ness level of the Kalamata olive and love the fact that they appeal to those family members who are not equally obsessed with other types of olives. Kalamata olives are most popularly thought of as an addition to your Greek salad, but these purple beauties have so much more to offer. Let’s dedicate a little time to exploring the Italian recipe star – the flavorful Kalamata olive.
The Kalamata Story. Kalamata olives are named after the town in Greece, where they originated. Kalamata olives have been around for over five thousand years, since Ancient Greek times. They are often referred to as black olives, but that’s an inaccurate description.
Kalamatas are easily recognizable with their oval shape and dark purple coloring – not to mention their intense, full-bodied flavor. These olives are hand-harvested to avoid bruising when they are extremely ripe in the late fall. If a perfect balance is not struck, the olives will taste bitter if harvested too early or lose all flavor if harvested too late.
Kalamata olives in the raw form are bitter and would not be eaten until they are soaked in brine. This process creates a fermentation process that can take up to a few months. At the end of the brining process, they are complete with their rich, meaty flavor.
Kalamata olive varietals. Kalamata olives have a flavorful tang because they are typically preserved in vinegar and olive oil. Other seasonings can be included in the mix like rosemary, lemon rinds or garlic cloves. Kalamata olive brines can get creative by adding thyme, chilies or bitters. They can be pitted or enjoyed with pits. They can also be stuffed with feta cheese, anchovies or garlic cloves.
Black olive vs. Kalamata Olive. Both the Black and Kalamata olives are dark in color, but it’s a common misstep (aka rookie mistake) to think the two are interchangeable. While it is true, you can sub black olives for Kalamata olives in a pinch. The flavor, however, will be noticeably different. They pack a powerful flavor that is much more vibrant than the similarly-colored black olive.
A Powerhouse of Goodness. By goodness, you might be inclined to think that’s a reference to flavor. However, it’s actually referring to the epic healthiness. Kalamata olives contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals and bring a high concentration of iron and vitamin A to the table, pun intended. They have been shown to potentially even help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and various cancers.
Common Ways to Serve. Kalamata olives are commonly served as an appetizer with feta cheese on Mediterranean tables as a compliment to pre-dinner wine. Kalamata olives, of course, are most popular in the Greek salad, but also feature in tapenades that can be spread on warm pita bread. And, no veggie pizza or Italian sub could be considered complete with a cameo from the Kalamata.
Fun Recipes Featuring the Kalamata. Now that the case for Kalamata olives has been made let’s shift over to the good stuff – mouthwatering recipes. Here are some interesting ways to bring these olives into your dinner game:
Flora Fine Foods offers a complete line of authentic Italian food, including Kalamata olives that play a starring role in any Greek salad, as well as so many other dishes. These plump and purple ovals come both pitted and with pits. They will bring the flavor to your recipes and the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to keep you feeling great.
While you’re selecting your perfect Kalamata olive choice from Flora Fine Foods, you’ll find all the provisions you need to craft the perfect Italian dish for weeknights with your family or special occasions with guests. From pastas to sauces to, of course, olives, we’ve made it our mission to bring authentic Italian foods into the kitchens of American homes.