One of the greatest pleasures about living in Portugal is having our own olive trees. Not only do they provide delicious organic olive oil but wonderful table olives for snacking.
It can take up to a year of brining before olives are edible, shop bought olives have usually been subject to a chemical process to speed things up. Unfortunately this can remove the colour from black olives so they are then dyed with a toxic substance called iron gluconate.
In fact it isn’t only black olives that are dyed. Sometimes green olives are dyed black too. Black olives are just green olives that have been left on the tree to ripen. Obviously this takes longer before they are ready to pick and of course there is more risk that the harvest might get damaged in the meantime.
One way to find out if your shop bought, shiny black olives are dyed is to look at the stone (pit). Olive pits are never black unless the olives have been dyed.
1 dried red chilli, crushed
grated rind 1 lemon
120 ml olive oil
225 g black olives
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon wedge, to serve
Place the chilli and lemon rind in a small pan with the oil. Heat gently for about 3 minutes. Add the olives and heat for 1 minute more.
Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Cover and leave to marinate over night.
Sprinkle over the parsley just before serving and garnish with the lemon wedge.