Kalamata Olives vs. Black Olives – What’s The Difference?

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The most widely available olives in the market are either kalamata or black. You might have tasted olives before and wondered why they taste different than black olives. Well, it may be due to the fact that they could be kalamata.

Both of these olives primarily belong from the Mediterranean, but they have many differences. Not just do they have different harvesting procedures, but also look different in their appearance. And most of all they taste different as well.

Kalamata olives have a dark purple color and have a fruity, rich taste. They are shaped like almonds. On the other hand, Black olives are round and have a mild salty taste.

Kalamata olives are a type of black olives primarily grown in Messenia in Greece. Their name comes from the city of kalamata, where they are grown. Black olives age back to about 5000 years and have several varieties.

Nowadays, several countries, including the US, Australia, and Argentina, are growing olives. Black olives also go by ripe olives as they are harvested when ripened. However, there are many artificial ways used to ripen black olives fully.

Below we have mentioned in detail the nutritional facts and health benefits of kalamata olives and black olives. This will further guide you better regarding both.

Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are one of the most common Greek olives grown in Messenia in Greece. Their name comes from the city of kalamata, and they primarily belong to the family of black olives. Kalamata is a name used specifically for olives grown in Messenia.

Kalamata olives harvesting takes place once they are fully ripened. They are handled with great care and handpicked not to damage their skin. Kalamata olives have an almond-like shape and are purple.

They are comparatively bigger than black olives and have their unique taste. Kalamata olives are bitter and salty when first harvested. They are then de-bittered during their curing course, and it is then they reveal their distinct flavor.

The curing process of kalamata olives is done in two ways. The first way is to store them in salty water until they are de-bittered. This process takes about 6 to 7 days. Then they are stored in vinegar or brine solution.

The second way is to store them in a strong salty solution for about 90 days. This process greatly takes away these olives’ bitterness but leaves them marginally pungent. Kalamata olives are greatly nutritious and loaded with vitamin A and C.

Nutritional Facts

The serving size of five kalamata olives provides the following nutritional benefits:

  • Total Calories: 88
  • Total Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Total Fat: 6 grams

Health Benefits

Kalamata olives are rich in antioxidants which greatly reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They are also known to reduce the risks of getting type 2 diabetes. Kalamata olives are also known to be naturally anti-inflammatory.

Kalamata olives are also loaded with monounsaturated fats that greatly reduce heart-related diseases. Studies have also revealed that olives maintain cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. Studies also show that kalamata olives have great benefits on bone health and prevent fractures.

Olives are also one of the most common fermented fruits, which means they add beneficial bacteria and enzymes that are important for good health. Kalamata olives are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin E and prevents chronic diseases and helps in maintaining good digestive health.

Black Olives

Black olives originated from the Mediterranean and have various kinds. They first grew about 5000 years ago. Nowadays, many countries with the appropriate climate to grow olives are growing them; the US, Australia and Argentina are the primary ones.

Black olives also go by ripe olives and are harvested when fully ripened. However, many artificial methods are used to ripen black olives. Semi mature black olives ripened by artificial ways are called California olives.

Black olives come in different sizes, from small to extraordinarily big ones. Black olives have a mild salty taste, and various herbs are used in their brining process. They are cured with lye, which is an alkaline solution, enhancing their natural flavor.

Black olives are widely used in salads and tapenade, spread on pieces of bread. Moreover, they are also used in pasta sauce and as toppings on pizzas and sandwiches. They also go well with wine platters and different types of cheese.

Nutritional Facts

A serving of 100 grams of black olives contains the following:

  • Total Calories: 116
  • protein: 0.84 g
  • Total Fat: 10.90 g
  • Total carbs: 6.04 g
  • Fiber: 1.60 g

Health Benefits

Black olives are a great source of dietary fibers responsible for lowering your blood pressure and maintaining cholesterol levels. Fibers also aid in maintaining digestive health and bowel movement, which greatly helps indigestion. A 100-gram serving of black olives includes 3mg of iron, which is your body’s main source of energy.

They are also rich in vitamin E, which aids in protecting cells from free radical damage and boosts your immunity. Black olives are also rich in monounsaturated fats responsible for reducing blood pressure maintain cholesterol levels. Thus, they aid in preventing heart diseases and stroke.

So, what’s the difference between black olives and kalamata olives?

Concluding the above-mentioned information into key points, which includes:

  1. Kalamata olives have a shape similar to almond and are purple, while black olives are comparatively round and black.
  2. The flavor of the black olives is comparatively mild, and various herbs are added to enhance its flavor, while on the other hand, Kalamata olives have a rich and sweet taste.
  3. Black olive that is semi-mature is cured with lye or oxygen to enhance its flavor and reduce bitterness, while kalamata olives are left in salty water for days to reduce its bitterness.
  4. Kalamata olives are high in calories compared to black olives; however, both are rich in minerals and vitamins.
  5. Black olives are more popular and common, and whole kalamata olives are primarily are grown in Greece.