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The olive: Varieties, types and presentations

The fruit of certain varieties of the cultivated olive tree (Olea europaea sativa Hoffg. Link.) is called «table olives», Take in the appropriate state of maturity: harvested at its correct degree of ripeness.

Depending on the geographical area, different VARIETIES of table olives are grown in Spain: Manzanilla, Gordal, Hojiblanca, Cacereña, Aloreña, Verdial, Lechín, Picual ... Some of them have double aptitude, that is, depending on the area where they are grown, they can be used for table or oil production.

By their coloring they are cataloged in four TYPES , depending on the moment they were collected and the elaboration process carried out:

  • Green type: is that obtained from fruits collected in the ripening cycle before they start to change its color and when they have reached their normal size. These olives will be firm, healthy, and will not have other spots other than those of their natural pigmentation. The color of the fruit may vary from green to straw yellow.
  • Changing color: are those obtained from fruits with pink, wine pink or brown, when they are changing its color, but before full maturity.
  • Natural black type: are those obtained from fruits collected in full maturity or shortly before it, being able to present, depending on the area of ​​production and the time of collection, reddish black, violet black, violet, greenish black or dark brown.
  • Black: are those obtained from fruits not fully ripe, but that have been subsequently darkened by oxidation.
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The main PRESENTATIONS are the following:

  • Not pitted olives: olives that retain their original shape and have not had their bone removed.
  • Pitted olives: olives to which the bone has been removed and practically retain their original shape.
  • Stuffed olives: pitted olives, stuffed with one or more food products such as pepper, onion, almonds, celery, anchovy, orange or lemon peel, hazelnut, caper, without limitation, or with their pasta prepared for filling, in which you can close the filling space with the corresponding part of the sectioned olive.
  • Segmented olives: those that have been cut or chopped. In turn they can be:
    • Halved olives: pitted or stuffed olives, cut into two roughly equal halves, perpendicular to the main axis of the fruit.
    • Quarter olives: pitted olives, cut into four approximately equal parts, following the main axis of the fruit and perpendicular to it.
    • Wedged olives: pitted olives, cut lengthwise, following the main axis of the fruit, in four or more approximately equal parts.
    • Sliced ​​olives: pitted or stuffed olives, cut into segments of relatively uniform thickness.
    • Sliced ​​olives: small pieces of pitted olives, indeterminate and practically free of identifiable units, with or without filling material.
  • Crushed or broken olives: obtained from whole fruits, subjected to a process destined to open the pulp without fracturing the bone that remains intact and whole in the fruit.
  • Striped or salted olives: pitted olives with incisions made in the skin that affect part of the pulp.
  • Wrinkled olives: olives that have lost moisture and smoothness, either naturally in the tree, or by treatment with dry salt or any other authorized treatment.
  • Salad olives: presentation based on not pitted or pitted olives, being able to be presented in wedges or slices, with or without filling material, and being able to carry other food products, when the olives predominate in comparison with the not pitted product marketed in this way.
  • Capering: presentation based on not pitted or pitted olives, usually of small size, with capers and with or without filling material, packaged with other food products, in which olives predominate compared to the not pitted product marketed in this way.
  • Mix, cocktail or combined olives: presentation that can contain different types of olives according to their color or form of presentation and that can carry other food products, with olives being the majority component.
  • Olive paste: presentation resulting from grinding olive pulp with or without other food products.
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