If You Don't Like Olives, This Variety Might Change Your Mind

Bitter, overly salty, overpowering — no, we're not talking about your ex. There are, in fact, people on the planet who don't care for olives, who find them unpleasantly salty, oily, and the bane of a properly topped pizza. If you're not a fan of wrinkled, deep-black, oil-cured olives (which are cured in salt and then rehydrated in oil, per the Kitchn) that's one thing, but not all olives are created equal.

Though totally edible, no olives are eaten raw. As Italian food purveyor DeLallo explains they have all been processed to some degree to remove a bitter compound called oleuropein in order to make them more enjoyable. Some olives are salt-cured, while others are brined; Some are processed with lye, and others air-cured. The ways in which olives are processed and cured has a huge impact on how they taste, as well as on their texture. And as it turns out, there is one kind of olive that even the most adamant olive haters may find palatable.

Look for this bright green olive from southern Italy

Castelvetrano olives hail from southwestern Sicily, according to DeLallo, in a region called Valle del Belice. They're a gorgeous bright green in color because they're harvested in September and October, before the olives have matured and darkened (via MasterClass). In an article praising the variety, Bon Appétit describes Castelvetrano olives as "sublime, mild in a way that feels more like a warm ray of sunshine or the first breath of fresh air after a day in the office than anything else. They're creamy, as if someone injected it with little hits of butter that melt on your tongue." A rave review, if we've ever read one.

Cook's Country explains that Castelvetrano olives have a milder flavor than other olives because they're only lightly cured in salt. The olives are not fermented (as some other olive varieties are), but instead, a gentle lye-washing process is carried out over a two-week period to remove those bitter compounds mentioned above. The result is a lovely apple-green olive that's pleasantly salty, with a buttery, crisp texture.

When introduced into dishes like calamari with fresh lemon and bread crumbs, spaghetti with clams, or even in a simple spiced olive mix served during an Italian-inspired aperitivo, the bright Castelvetrano olive isn't just beautiful, it's also a delicious addition that may even convert some haters.