Olives are one of the world's most widely enjoyed foods even though more attention has perhaps been given to olive oil to consuming the fruits. An amazing tree that typically lives for hundreds of years, we commonly think about olives not as a fruit but as a zesty vegetable that can be added to salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.

Olives are too bitter to be eaten right off the tree and must be cured to reduce their intrinsic bitterness. Processing methods vary with the variety and region where they are cultivated, and the desired taste, texture and colour. Some olives are picked unripe, while others are allowed to fully ripen on the tree. The colour of an olive is not necessarily related to its state of maturity. Many olives start off green and turn black when fully ripe. However, some olives start off green and remain green when fully ripe, while others start off black and remain black. Water curing, brine curing, and lye curing are the most common treatment processes for olives; each of these treatments can affect the colour and composition of the fruit.

Health benefits

Dozens of health-protective nutrients have been identified in olives. Greek-style black olives, Spanish-style green olives, Kalamata-style olives, and many different methods of preparing olives provide us with valuable amounts of many different antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Hydroxytyrosol, an olive phytonutrient that has long been linked to cancer prevention, is now regarded as having the potential to help us prevent bone loss as well. In traditional herbal medicine practices, preparations from olives and olive leaves have often been used in treatment of inflammatory problems, including allergy-related inflammation.

Now, for a recipe.

Olive Foccacia Bread

Ingredients

Flour: 100 gm

Sugar: 5 gm

Salt: 2 gm

Compressed yeast: 30 gm

Water: 60 ml

Olive oil: 15 ml

Chopped olives: 25 gm

Sliced olives: 10 gm

Method: Pre-heat the oven at 230 degree C. Mix together all the ingredients mentioned above with water and make a smooth soft dough. Add the chopped olives and olive oil and knead well. Take a baking tray and grease it with little oil. Put the dough on the tray and flatten it to about 1-inch thickness. Sprinkle the sliced olives on top and press it gently with fingers randomly. Leave the dough out for 45 minuets. It will rise because of the action of the yeast. Sprinkle some olive oil. Bake it at 230 degree C for 15 minutes.

Executive Sous Chef

Vivanta by Taj-Connemara

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