Black olives are often only colored – this is how you recognize the fake
There is a large selection on the supermarket shelf : olives – it seems – come in all colors and shapes, filled with almonds or anchovy fillets, in herb marinade or in olive oil, in green, purple or black. But where does the color actually come from?
Olives are sun-kissed fruits. The longer they hang on the tree, the darker and more aromatic they become. However, the color does not depend on the type of olive, but on the degree of ripeness of the fruit. No matter which country it comes from. That means: every olive was green at the very beginning, the longer it hangs, the more it changes color. Too purple and finally to black.
Actually, one could think that one would only have to let the olives hang on the tree until they are dark enough for the manufacturer. However, some producers take the olives off the tree green and artificially blacken them. But why only? The reason is simple: the more ripe the olive, the more difficult it is to harvest. But if the olives are still green, they can simply be shaken off the tree. The ripe fruits have to be picked carefully by hand so that the skin does not burst. That takes time.
Iron (II) gluconate and iron (II) lactate are the names of the additives that make green olives really black. In general, ripe olives have a softer, milder and fuller taste. In contrast, unripe, blackened fruits are firmer and have less flavor.
How to recognize colored olives
The addition of iron salts is harmless to health, but the following applies: if you want more taste, you should better use the naturally ripened black olives. Those who prefer the bitter aroma of the olive choose the green one. On olive tins from the supermarket with artificially colored fruits, the note “blackened” does not have to be noted, in contrast to olives sold loosely. However, it helps to take a look at the list of ingredients, because the stabilizer must be named on the label. Once iron salts are listed, it is safe to assume that they are blackened unripe olives.
You can of course recognize ripened olives by their appearance: The fruits are then unevenly colored, not pitch black, but rather aubergine in color, and the shape is also less plump.