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Black or Black? How to Tell If Your Olives Are Really Black?

Perhaps you have ever seen perfectly black olives floating in a chemical solution, and you may have been suspected that they are fake, dyed black olives. And most likely you are right. 

Also, perhaps you know, that black and green olives are not different olive varieties. Black olives grow on the same tree as green olives, and not only on the same tree but even on the same branch. It is the producer who decides whether they should be black or green, simply by determining the time of harvest. 

If the olives are harvested in September or October, they are green: 

Green olives Belica


If the farmer decides to wait a few months, the olives will be black: 

Ripen black olives Arbequina

What? Are these olives not black enough for you?

That's right, it's just because these are real, naturally ripe black olives. They will not become blacker, at least while they are on a tree.

Let's go back to the can of black olives we saw in the supermarket. What are they?

These are green olives harvested from a tree in October and dyed with iron gluconate, ferrous gluconate, or ferrous sulfate. 


Chemical formula of iron gluconate.


Iron gluconate - toxic dye that turns green olives into black.Meet our hero: Iron Gluconate C12H24FeO14. 
It’s a toxic substance, gray-brown in powder or granules and black in compound.   
It corrodes the gastric mucosa, hurts the heart and blood, in some cases causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as headache, chills, convulsions, and even coma.     
Well, falling into a coma will only work in case of a severe overdose. So you can safely eat a jar of dyed black olives and most likely you will not die.   

By the way, it's time to answer the question of the title: How to make sure your olives are really black?
Just look at the pit. Under normal conditions, olive pits never turn black. So if the pit is black, then your olives are colored. 

Why do they dye olives? It's simple, just two things: 
1. Money today is better than money tomorrow. It’s better to sell olives right now than in two months. Every day of growing olives is a cost. Therefore, it is better to stop spending money as early as possible, especially if these expenses do not increase profits.
2. Let’s say you have 100 kg of green olives on your tree in October. Do you think you will have 100 kg of black olives in December? Of course, you will not. Some olives will rot on a tree, some on the ground, and some will be spoiled by olive flies. Leaving them to ripen on the tree, you risk losing up to half of your yield. 

Therefore, some olive producers simply harvest the entire crop in October and divide it into two parts: green olives and green olives that turn black once they're jarred.

You don't need to do anything with green olives, they are already green. As for the second part of the olives (which are still green), just add some iron gluconate and they will become perfectly black and very shiny, like the patent leather shoes of 1930s Chicago gangsters.   

This is what black olives dyed with iron gluconate look like

The wonder of chemistry will always help smart guys, who are ready to feed us with any rubbish to earn an extra couple of coins.

Why isn't it forbidden? Because we live in an age of scientific and technological progress. You don't want to stop the progress, do you?!

The industry can afford to buy scientists and officials with entire laboratories and prefectures. Only this can explain so many chips, cola, refined oils, and other junk foods available to all feeble-minded and semi-literate people in any supermarket. 

This guy is a big fan of Coca-Cola
This kind man loved this product so much that he invested billions in it. And now we all believe that he lives so happily ever after solely due to the daily intake of 5 cans of this wonderful drink. 

Maybe it's time to think about what's going on? 

1 comment

  • All the Olives I process, have no chemicals. I process Olives harvested at 3 different times during the growing season.Here in California…Green Olives, early September. Blush Olives (a little purple/a little green), late October. Black Olives, late November. Water and brine de-bitter green Olives. Brine de-bitter blush Olives. Dry, black Olives. All Olives I process are natural, have a some what short shelf life…Need to be eaten, they won’t last forever. Need to be refrigerated. Healthy, good for you and delicious.

    Don Landis

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