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New Eco-Friendly Method to Make Olives Tasty


Researchers from University of California- Davis, developed a greener method to remove bitter taste from olives.

I have to admit that when I shop for groceries at a wholefood stores, I rarely stop and think about the processes involved in bringing these to the shelves. I am aware of the health benefits these have, and I always try to buy as much organic, healthy, green and sustainable produce as I possibly can.

However, recently I came across two completely independent sources, which brought the issue to my attention. The first source was a show on Netflix, called “The good place”. If you are following it and have not seen the latest episodes, note a small spoiler alert. Perhaps skip the next paragraph.

In the episode I am referring to, the main characters were discussing how difficult it is to do good this days. They give the example of buying tomatoes at a grocery store. They then traced the route of how this action contributes to global warming and unfair labor treatment. I will not continue here in case any of you would like to watch it.

I did not make much of it, until I came across a recent study by researchers at University of California-Davis. The team identified that the current process of making olives edible, introduces harmful chemicals to the environment and wastes water.  This is because the healthy green berry is full of phenolic compounds such as oleuropein and ligstroside. In order to become edible, these are currently removed by soaking the fruits in a dilute lye solution, and then wash them several times.

In this context, I think it is only right to give the study the attention it deserves.

The team decided to test a new method. They stored the olives in vats, which contained a range of different resins. After keeping the fruits for 76 days, the scientists found a particular benefit of one resin- the so called FPX66. This resin was able to reduce the concentrations of oleuropein to values lower than those, which are commercially made. The concentrations of ligstroside also dropped.

If this resin is used, the number of washes, which the olives need to go through, is much lower. In addition, all penolics, which are extracted during the process, can them be recovered and used in other products, such as supplements. Last but not least, the resin can be reused.

Now we have to wait and see when this discovery will be put into practice. Hopefully soon!.

Image (c) Whitewolf/Depositphotos

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  1. Or, we could eat olives as they were meant to be eaten, ripe and black, not green and unhealthy, and no water needed. The funny thing is that many black olives in the USA are actually green and colored with some even unhealthier black ink. I felt so cheated when I bought this disgusting stuff.

    You wrote “rasin” 3 times instead of “resin”.

    • Edited, thanks!
      I’m not sure I agree that olives are palatable when untreated. I have picked them from a tree a couple of times, and I did not find the taste pleasant at all. However, coloring them or treating them with chemicals, in order to meet some consumer expectation, is unacceptable (in my view).


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