Myth: All olive cultivars are dual-purpose
Myth: Bigger is synonymous with better quality
All olive varieties could potentially produce oil. Nevertheless, each cultivar produces different oil content. Certain varietals contain much heavier concentrations of oil than others. Generally, the best table olive varieties have low olive yield and high sugar content. In Greece, there are three major, excellent table olive varieties: “Kalamata”, “Chalkidiki”, and “Konservolia”. It is also important to take into account that table olives are selected as they enter the factory, and all fruit deemed unsuitable for further processing are sent to the olive oil mill. However, it is not in the interest of the producer/company to make olive oil as these varieties have a low oil yield and generate more money as table olives.
Table olive varieties usually produce large fruit –the olive's suitability for table consumption is a function of its size. Olives between 3 and 5g are considered medium-sized, while those weighing over 5g are large, like the “Chalkidiki” olives which can come in sizes up to 181-200/ kg. Nevertheless, sizes can vary from tree to tree (sometimes, when a tree has too many fruit, their size is smaller). There are 14 commercial sizes in table olives and the fruit are accordingly sorted during the selection process. The organoleptic characteristics of the end product, however, usually do not correspond to the size of the fruit, but depend on the olive variety, as well as the processing. n
Fine food & drinks of Greece February 2018