What Makes Our Olives Special

What Makes Our Olives Special

Dear Kosterina Family,

Greek olives, celebrated for their rich flavor and nutritional benefits, have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. But what if we told you that some olives are way better than others? It’s true.

Most olives in the US are cured in a chemical called lye. Lye is sodium hydroxide and it’s a very harsh chemical that you cannot handle with unprotected skin. So why is this chemical put on our food? Producers will try to make the de-bittering process shorter and cheaper by doing it chemically using lye. It is not unsafe because it is ultimately washed off before the food is consumed (pretzels & bagels are also made using lye) but what it does do is strip olives of all their phytonutrients. The olive loses its raw, organic, and natural qualities, no longer retaining its health benefits.

The difference between Kosterina olives and common olives is our natural curing process which creates an organic olive. We cure our olives (hand-picked on the hillsides of Southern Greece) in sea salt brine for 6-12 months, during which the fermentation begins to create natural lactic bacteria (gut friendly probiotics). Our olives are also dry, vacuum-packed which has several advantages.

  1. Dry packing means our olives do not need to be pasteurized – in other words, they don’t have to undergo a heat process that inevitably changes the texture, taste and nutritional characteristics. Avoiding pasteurization also allows us to keep the fermentation process going and the probiotics alive resulting in a product that has the same nutritional benefits as other fermented foods. Probiotics are so important for gut health. Check out more about that here.
  2. Since there is no liquid or brine, you can snack straight from the jar or add to salads or charcuterie boards without any mess. Perfect for adding savory flavor to apps & entrees, garnishing cocktails, and enjoying right out of the jar.

Nutritional Profile of Greek Olives

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) gets all the heart-healthy buzz, but olives themselves are a powerhouse of essential nutrients. Let’s explore why these small, flavorful fruits are considered a superfood and how they can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Heart Healthy

They are rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is known for its heart-healthy properties. These fats help reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol, promoting cardiovascular health.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

One of the standout features of Greek olives is their high antioxidant content. These antioxidants, including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and quercetin, help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. This is particularly important for preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions.

Skin and Hair Health

Greek olives are an excellent source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects cells from damage and supports skin health – think hydrated skin and a glowing complexion. For hair, the nutrients in olives can strengthen follicles, reduce hair loss, and add shine.

Other essential nutrients found in Greek olives include:

  • Iron: Crucial for the formation of hemoglobin and oxygen transport in the blood.
  • Copper: Supports cardiovascular and nerve health.
  • Calcium: Important for bone health and muscle function.
  • Fiber: Aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut.

Enjoying Kosterina Olives

Kosterina Greek olives are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can be enjoyed straight from the jar, tossed into your daily salad, used as a topping for pizza or pasta, and added to charcuterie boards and mezze platters. Oh, and they make a fantastic cocktail garnish too. A simple olive tapenade with pita or crudité is one of our favorite ways to enjoy this nutrient powerhouse.

Check out some of our favorite olive recipes:

Greek Olive Tapenade

Greek Shrimp Salad

Olive Crostini

Kosterina olives are cured with love and are full of probiotics, healthy fats, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which makes them a valuable addition to any meal. They are also the perfect snack. You can pop them into your beach bag or offer up at your next pool party this summer. Olive the flavor without olive the fuss! Try them out for yourself here – trust us.

Peace, Love, and EVOO,

Katina & The Kosterina Team