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Olives are delicious! Before I knew any better, the only olives I ate were black olives on pizza. I loved them so much I would purchase canned pre-sliced olives to sprinkle additional olives on my slice. I distinctly remember trying other olives at restaurants, but the sourness was an instant turn off, so I stuck with black olives. Ever since I was introduced to Castelvetrano and Lucques, and they are both my new favorite olives.
An incentive to add olives to your diet is the health benefits. It's commonly known that olive oils is a healthy alternative to canola oil, but eating the cured olives whole is also healthy. Here are just a few of the reasons:
Hydroxytyrosol is an olive phytonutrient has been long been linked to cancer prevention and to slow the loss of calcium in bones.
Anti-inflammatory benefits in olives help to block h1 receptors, which reduces he impact of allergies.
80% of calories in olives come from healthy fats. 3/4 of the fat come from Oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) that is considered healthy fats. Monounsaturated fat reduce cardiovascular diseases, such as high cholesterol.
There are many more reasons you should eat olives.
Most grocery stores carry Kalamata olives in standard grocery store sized jars as well as olive bars when available. Costco also sells 28.5oz jars of Kalamata olives, which is much better priced when compared to store/bar bought olives. Comparing the three olives, Kalamata's have the strongest flavor. Because of this, I prefer to use Kalamata olives for recipes or Kalamata olive tapenade, where the strong flavor mixes well with other food. I rarely eat Kalamata's straight out of the jar. Read more on Kalamata Olives at Wikipedia.
On the other hand, Castelvetrano have a mild, yet lightly sweet and tasty flavor. A larger olive by size, it also has a light buttery texture. I had a much harder time finding Castelvetrano olives at grocery stores or olive bars. I found them unpitted sold in small jar available at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. My local Costco (SSF) didn't carry it, but finally did locate it on the shelves pitted in 25 oz jars at the Foster City Costco. Read more on Castelvetrano Olives at Wikipedia.
Last in the comparison are Lucques olives. They come at the recommendation of a colleague. By far these olives are the most difficult to find. I've only found them in regular sized jars at Trade Joes, and a few option from online merchants like Amazon. They have a slightly stronger flavor than Castelvetrano, but not nearly as strong as the Kalamata olives. Read more on Lucques Olives at Wikipedia.
Overall, my favorite olives are Castelvetrano, followed by Lucques olives, followed by Kalamata olives. That being said, because the Castelvetrano and Kalamata olives are available at great prices at Costco, they're the ones I have stocked at home. Lucques are good, but due to price and lack of availability (I don't shop at Trader Joes very often), I don't purchase it as often. Castelvetrano olives can be eaten right out of the jar or paired with cheese.