Green Olives vs. Black Olives: What’s the Difference?

Even though I like to picture the two as the best of friends, there are certainly some notable differences between black olives and green olives. Even though both are darn delicious, it’s important to highlight what makes each unique, so today we’ll be examining black vs. green olives…but not too close, you don’t want any of that oil to get in your eyes. Our insurance unfortunately doesn’t cover that sort of thing.  

What is the difference between black and green olives?

Well, aside from the fairly obvious difference in coloration, there’s a lot that makes the respective antipasti distinct. First of all, their ripeness. Green olives are harvested before they’re fully ripe, which makes sense since a lot of things are green before they’re typically ripe and ready. Black olives, on the other hand, are left to ripen before they’re harvested, giving them that deeper hue. 

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Another way in which green olives and black olives differ is in their processing. Green olives undergo a fermentation process that involves soaking in a lye solution before producers cure them in a salt brine. Ripe, black olives skip the fermentation step and are cured right away. One similarity they’ll always share, however, is they both resemble eyeballs if you’re creating a haunted house for the local children. Go ahead and feel for yourself! Uncanny right? Just like spaghetti OR lo mein noodles can be used for brains. It’s creepy fun for the whole family! 

Do black and green olives taste the same?

Generally, green olives are a smidgen more bitter when compared to black olives. Also, black olives usually contain more oil and less salt than green ones. However, that is usually due to differences in preparation and packing. 

Which is better for you? 

When breaking green olives vs. black olives down in terms of nutrition, green olives tend to have more sodium, calories, fat, and vitamin E than black olives. On the other side of the coin, black olives tend to be higher in iron than green olives. Plus, green olives are often stuffed with other foods (garlic cloves, blue cheese, pimento peppers, etc), making them a bit more caloric. By this marker, I’d say black olives are more nutritious for you, which should ease your mind the next time you see them on a big delicious pizza. 

If you’re a fan of olives, you know that there are merits to both black and green, and an allegiance to one is not necessarily an insult to the other. This article was not meant to stir the pot or rabble-rouse, rather illuminate what makes each olive great. You know what they say: olive and let live. 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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