Europe at Your Table

European olives: A healthy and quality product at Canadian tables

Presented by Europe at Your Table, with Olives from Spain

When it comes to taking your food to another level, it’s worth taking a look at olives.

Traditionally hailing from the Mediterranean region of Europe, these small fruits are healthy, versatile, and practical, and have been produced and consumed for thousands of years. It’s no wonder they’re such a popular item at Canadian tables. Canada is also home to many European immigrants and prides itself on its thriving cultural communities, which not only boosts the demand for olives but has encouraged other Canadians to include them in their diet.

Historical quality

Olives have appeal on so many levels, particularly those from Europe, which offer a true seal of quality. They have deep roots in Spanish and European culture and have been cultivated for several thousand years in southern Europe. That’s centuries and generations of trial-and-error and technique refinement, which has brought us to the high-quality products offered today.

Coming from a climate of mild winters, hot summers, and nutrient-rich soil, olives from Europe are still world-famous in 2020 for a variety of reasons. Not least, Europe’s agricultural quality standards are among the highest in the world and that’s reflected in the product you receive.

Spain is the largest producer and exporter of table olives, boasting 16% of the world’s olive trees, 21% of world production, and 30% of world exports. Combine this with generations of traditional cultivation of olives and refining of the craft, and it’s no wonder that Spain’s olives are the most produced and exported around the world and in Canada. In 2018, 50% of Canada’s olives came from Spain.

A tasty and wholesome snack

As well as offering quality production and delicious taste, European olives are a perfect healthy snack and an ideal replacement for other less nutritious nibbles.

In fact, there are several health benefits of table olives. Some of those include:

  • Up to 77% of table olives’ fat content is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Replacing saturated fats in a daily diet with unsaturated fats helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
  • They have about 150 calories per 100g, three times lower than chips and four times lower than many processed snacks. Seven olives per day, a recommended number for most people, contain just 37 calories.
  • Black table olives provide 45.5% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.
  • Table olives are a good and natural source of vitamin E, which helps protect cells from oxidative damage.
  • They’re 50% water and as well as oleic acid, iron and vitamin E, they contain the ideal mix of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. As well as helping to regulate cholesterol, they can help you improve your cardiovascular system, potentially slow down cellular aging, and aid digestion.

All in all, European olives are a perfect ingredient in a healthy meal or an ideal nutritious snack.

A versatile addition

The range of health benefits isn’t the only appeal of European olives, though. Not by a long shot. Another key offering is their versatility. Table olives are one of the rare products that combine the four basic tastes of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.

As a result, not only are they a great snack, but they can be incorporated into almost any recipe. Their versatility is so wide that they can be used in tapas, appetizers, side dishes, cocktails, salads, pizzas, rice, pasta, fish, meat, garnishes, sauces, and even desserts. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a quality product that can do more!

Even if being consumed as a standalone snack, the possibilities are almost endless. They can be eaten whole or pitted, split or cut into halves and quarters; cured in the Sevillian style, in brine, or in other ways. Then, when it comes to seasoning, they can be matched with oregano, thyme, garlic, orange, lemon, onion. They can be stuffed with anchovy, pepper, tuna, salmon, hazelnut, almond, onion, garlic, ham, and so on. Olives are truly a food for all tastes and preferences.

Need more reasons?

If you’re not convinced yet, consider some other plus points. As well as being healthy and versatile, European olives:

  • Affordable
  • Plentiful
  • Convenient and practical
  • Easily storable over a long time
  • Quick and easy to prepare
  • Highly sociable, as reflected by their role in Mediterranean culture over centuries

Olives have long been at the heart of European cuisine and the way of life, offering an opportunity to enjoy food while spending quality time with friends and family. They are more than an ingredient; they represent happiness and the sharing of unforgettable moments – what life should be all about.

Above all, though, they’re delicious. Have you ever stopped at one?

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The content of this promotion campaign represents the views of the author only and is his / her sole responsibility. The European Commission and the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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