Typical Mediterranean produce, green olives are the fruit of the olive tree harvested before ripening (September, October, November), unlike black olives, which are harvested ripe (December, January, February). The flavor of green olives is milder. And as they contain less oil, they have fewer calories.
Green olives are harvested between September and November, but they can be eaten throughout the year. They are easy to find, both marinated or in brine, in the deli section or canned goods section of supermarkets.
Green olives, like most olive varieties, cannot be eaten immediately after harvesting. They have to be prepared; their bitterness has to be removed through a process before the olives are washed and fermented, for example, in brine.
After preparation, green olives can be eaten plain, marinated, or in brine as an appetizer. They can also be used to make tapenade or oil. Finally, they can be added to savory pastries, bread, fougasse, pizza, and to stewed chicken dishes.
Marinated or brined green olives can be stored for several months in jars. Put them in a dry place away from light and heat.
Green olives are high in iron and sodium, but have fewer calories than black olives.
There are a number of well-known varieties of French olives acknowledged by a quality label, among which are the olives from the Vallée des Baux-de-Provence or Nyons olives, grown in the Drôme and Vaucluse regions, which have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.