The world of olives is an extensive one, and there are several varieties that populate the grocery aisles. However, one of the most common, and in our opinion tastiest olives, is the manzanilla or manzanillo olive.
What is a Manzanilla Olive
Originating from Sevilla, Spain, manzanilla olives are plump and meaty olive with a firm texture and diverse flavor profile. These beautiful olives are typically a light green and have a pit that can be easily removed.
Growing and Harvesting
The Manzanilla olive is grown primarily in warmer climates. The olives are harvested during the fall season, while still green and then cured.
The curing process for these olives is used to remove the bitterness in the flesh and skin of the olive that comes from the compounds oleuropein and ligstroside. Curing is done by placing the olives quickly into a fresh water and lye bath to rinse them and then they are soaked in a sea salt brine for up to 3 months.
Once removed from the brine the olives are pitted, stuffed, and placed into glass jars where they’re topped with olive oil or brine and packaged for sale. That’s how they’ll stay until they are ready to be opened and enjoyed.
Forms of Manzanilla Olives
Manzanilla trees are known for their high, annual yield of fruit and this has resulted in the manzanilla olive being the most widely available and used green olive on the market today.
Whole Fruit Form – the manzanilla olive is commonly used in a whole fruit form. These olives have a pit that is easily removed and often, producers will harvest the olive, remove the pit and then stuff it with a variety of items from pimento (the most popular) to garlic and almonds.
Cold Pressed – the manzanilla olive is also a commonly used type of olive in olive oil production. In order to get extra virgin olive oils, the olives are harvested and then cold pressed to extract the oil from the fruit.
The use of the cold pressing method allows the nutritional benefits of the olive to remain in the oil. The use of heat or chemicals in the processing of olive oils can reduce the health benefits most commonly associated with these olives.
How to Use Manzanilla Olives
These olives are extremely diverse in how they can be used. In their whole fruit form, these olives, especially the stuffed varieties, make the perfect addition to any hors d’oeuvres table. They’re also extremely popular in the classic gin martini. However, the stuffed manzanilla olives can also make a great addition to the dinner table. From a tapenade spread for bruschetta to a special addition to your pasta sauce they’re sure to add a great hit of flavor.
In their pressed form, as olive oil, these olives can be enjoyed in any dish. From using it as a butter substitute in baking (3 parts olive oil to 4 parts butter) – to the topping for your next great salad or grilled steak, olive oil is a great way to improve health while adding delicious flavors to your cooking.
Produced worldwide now, manzanilla olives are the most popular in the world and are commonly used in everything from cocktails to olive oil. The odds are good that you’ve tasted these olives in one form or another.
If you’re looking for a great way to get more healthy fats into your diet, these olives are a great place to start. Stop in to our store at 10 E Main Street or visit us online to shop our selection of olive oils and pickled olives.