“Olive oil is more than something to drizzle over a dish, it s a necessary ingredient at every meal”
Health benefits. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent damage to your cells from free radicals. Olives contain special phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties that have been linked to cancer prevention. Also, the monounsaturated fat in olives helps reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. To top it off – olives are a good source of fiber and iron.
Versatility. Olives can be enjoyed as a tasty appetizer or snack, particularly when they are paired with cheese and/or bread. But that’s just the beginning. They can also be added to a wide range of delicious Mediterranean dishes such as pastas, pizzas, risottos, soups, stews, salads, sandwiches, breads, dips, sauces, and spreads. The culinary options of olives are quite endless.
Variety. Olives vary enormously in taste, texture, shape and size: Spanish manzanilla olives, Greek kalamata olives, green Sicilian olives, small French Niçoise olives — there are a multitude to choose from. There are olives with a very strong earthy taste, fruity flavored olives with a hint of bitterness,and olives come in a wide range of styles: whole or sliced, pitted or stuffed with pimento, anchovy or garlic, packed in brine or aromatic oil — giving you plenty of variety to try olives in different dishes.
Convenience. Olives have a long shelf life and are ready to use straight from the jar or can, making them an indispensable pantry ingredient. You can buy high-quality canned and jarred olives from Greece, Italy and Spain in most supermarkets.
Economical. Olives are relatively cheap, and because of their robust flavor a little goes a long way. Just a handful of olives adds richness, texture and a distinct pungent flavor to Mediterranean-style meals. And just a small scattering of chopped olives in a salad or sandwich imparts lots of flavor.