A superfood contains a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, thought to ward off cancer. They also contain healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease. As well as fiber, known to help prevent diabetes and digestive problem. Finally, superfoods are also known to contain phytochemicals which have numerous health benefits.
Low in saturated fats, the olive contains 11-15% fat, of which over 70% is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Oleic acid is linked to health benefits including decreased inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease. Olives are comprised of 4-6% carbohydrates making them a low-carb fruit but not considered a strong source of fiber. Olives are particularly rich in antioxidants including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid and quercetin. Scientists are currently studying fermented olives to determine their probiotic effect.
Store bottled or tinned olives in a cool, dark place until opened. They will last up to 12 months. After opening, keep the olives refrigerated in a airtight container where they are best if eaten within a week of opening.
The color of the olive is determined by their ripeness, green olives are harvested in October or November, when still young. They tend to be more plump and firm with a stronger flavor than a comparably cured black olive. Black olives are picked in December, by which time they have matured and are fully ripe.
Olives are delicious served on their own. Stuffed olives are a great accompaniment for a cocktail, think martini or bloody Mary. Use the brine from a jar of olives to “dirty” a martini. Tapenade can be made from chopping olives finely and adding a small amount of olive oil. Spread tapenade on crusty French bread or serve with crackers or bread sticks. Enhance salads, pizza, pasta, steak, mashed potatoes with chopped or pitted olives.
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