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Is there an olive oil made out of black olives?

The vast majority of olive oils available on the market use a blend of both green and black olives – a winning combination that harnesses the very best of all ripening stages of this incredible fruit. Green olives are robust and stronger in taste; black olives are milder in flavour and give oil its suppleness. True, some olive oils use just green olives, but olive oil made from just black olives is incredibly rare. 

So here’s a bit of science for you: olives, whatever their colour, are essentially the same fruit, picked at different stages of ripening. But just like grapes or apples, different olive varieties come in distinctly different sizes, textures and flavours. 

All olives, however, start off life green. They then grow and ripen to a yellowish hue, before turning red and deep purple (think Kalamata olives) and ending up black and soft and distinctly oily, blessed with months of that hot Mediterranean sun and fertile soil. 

We’re all aware of the virtues of olive oil. Whether we’re heating it up in a frying pan or baking with it, drizzling it naked over salad or whizzing it up with chick peas to make hummus, few kitchens across the UK are without their trusty bottle of the Greek stuff. But few of us know much about where – or what exactly – it comes from.

Earlier we mentioned oil made purely of green olives. Yep – it exists, but this blend of olive oil can be pricey. Why? Well, have you ever noticed, while grazing on a bowl of mixed olives, how the green ones tend to be firmer than their darker, juicier friends? That’s because they’re younger. Their firmness simply means it takes more green olives to produce a litre of oil than it does black olives. 

 

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