Are olives safe to eat off the tree?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “are olives safe to eat off the tree?” and the ways to cure them.

Are olives safe to eat off the tree?

No, olives are not safe to eat off the tree. Even though raw olives are edible, they are very bitter. Oleuropein and phenolic compounds are found in olives, and these chemicals must be removed or substantially reduced before the olive can safely be consumed.

What technique is used in the curing of olives?

There are numerous different techniques for “curing” olives, although the process is more closely related to fermentation than to curing. It is the process by which the sugars in the fruit are changed to lactic acid and the bitter chemical components are leached away. Curing is done in the same manner as ripening (oleuropein and phenols).

Choosing a solution 

To remove the strong flavor of raw olives, green olives, or immature olives, may be cured in water for a short time. They’ll have a light, nutty flavor, as well as a crisp consistency. Once they have been water-cured for approximately a week, they are preserved in a brine that has a salty flavor. 

Allowing the olive to develop in its brine for a long time results in a less bitter and more nuanced flavor than when the olive is harvested young.

Prepare and choose olives according to your preferences.

There are a variety of therapies that are helpful for various kinds of olives. Brining or salt curing olives such as manzanillo, mission, and kalamata are the best types of olives to use. It is possible that larger fruits, such as Seville olives, may need an extra lye treatment to complete the curing process.

Start by selecting olives that are not damaged or otherwise harmed by pests, particularly the olive fly, whose larvae burrow into the fruits and cause them to taste bitter. Olives should be well washed before eating. Next, depending on how you want the olives to look, slice or fracture the fruit to allow the brine to penetrate the fruit more thoroughly. To prevent cutting the pit, care should be used.

What is the process of curing olives?

It does not matter which technique is used to cure the olives; all of them are cured in one of four ways: natural brine, lye (lye solution), salt (salt solution), or air curing.

1. Natural Brine Curing: Olives are harvested and immediately put in brine tanks throughout this curing process. The brine, which is completely comprised of sea salt and water, is produced and maintained at a certain salinity. Depending on the kind of surgery, it may take anywhere between three and twelve months. At any point throughout the curing and packing processes, this technique may be changed by adding one or more of the acids listed below: lactic (lactic acid), citric (citric acid), acetic (acetic acid), or ascorbic acid (ascorbic acid). Certain curing combinations help to retain the flavors and textures of the meat, while others provide a new dimension of flavor to the product.

2. Treatment with Lye Before the application of Natural Brine Curing: “Spanish Cure” refers to the procedure of “cutting” the olives with Lye during the production of olive oil (also referred to as Caustic Soda or Sodium Hydroxide). After harvesting, the olives are immersed in a lye solution for eight to twelve hours to clean them. 

3. Olives are often salted and preserved in the Southern Mediterranean. This curing technique developed as a consequence of the region’s hot, dry climate and closeness to the sea, which offered an unlimited supply of salt. It is still used today. Once the olives have been harvested, they are placed in barrels and alternately covered with sea salt.

4. Olives may be fermented on the branch or after harvesting if they are exposed to high temperatures and sunshine for an extended time. This technique of curing is very rare, and it is only employed on a few kinds of cheese.

The Reasons Why You Should Avoid Consuming Unripe Olives

Because fresh olives are inedible, they have seldom been seen in supermarkets for one simple reason: they are difficult to find. Even though they grow on trees and seem like fresh fruit, they contain oleuropein, a bitter phenolic component that makes them bitter. 

Farmers who have built up a tolerance for raw olives through years of experience are the only ones who will ever eat raw olives in their lifetime. Using lye, brine, or salt to improve the flavor of olive is necessary since oleuropein is removed when an olive is immersed in these solutions.

Other FAQs about Olives that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze olives?

How to know if olives are spoiled

Can you eat an olive off the tree?


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “are olives safe to eat off the tree?” and the ways to cure them.


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