It's story time with Becca again! :)
I was making a Moroccan-inspired dish recently and finished the dish with olives. Almost every time I see an olive, I get childhood flashbacks.
My Mom has always loved canned black olives. I also had a grandpa who had the same love for green olives. Growing up, my mom would, every now and then, make me eat a black olive in hopes of me miraculously liking them. I made sure to be extra-dramatic in my repulsion each time (although, in retrospect, my response was probably right on target)! I also recall my grandpa attempting to have me try a green olive when I was over at his house visiting. Since it was Grandpa that was requesting, I pretended the olive was fine, but snuck over to the bathroom as soon as I could to spit it out in the garbage (pro tip: NEVER offend a grandpa who regularly takes you to the candy store).
After cleaning up my dietary lifestyle in my early twenties, I went grocery shopping with one of my cousins and we came across a newly installed olive bar. This olive bar showcased more varieties of olives than I could possibly fathom (weren't the only 2 kinds of olives in existence “canned black” and “jarred green?!”). As we stared at this fixture, my cousin said how her dad adored olives and would be excited to check this out. I just couldn’t understand how anyone liked olives and WHY I had to be born into a family full of olive-lovers! After I expressed my memories involving my mom and our grandpa, my cousin pointed out the kalamata olives and assured me those didn’t taste like the other olives I’ve tried. If there’s one reliable trait that I have, it’s being willing to try any and all foods at LEAST once. As soon as I started chewing it, I couldn’t believe how good it was. HOW can any olive taste good? The kalamata was my gateway olive. I tucked that memory away.
Nearly a decade later, I read a book by Ari Weinzweig: Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating. There was a chapter in there on olives. Cue my “aha moment”: “Those black olives in the can are an exception to the color rule; they’re actually picked green and unripe early in the autumn. Cured in lye, they’re then pumped with oxygen to make them black. Their newly adopted color is fixed in place with ferrous gluconate. Finally, they’re pasteurized and canned.”
This explains why I despise canned black olives, but remains a mystery why my mom, or anyone else, actually enjoys them (no offense, of course, dear reader, if you are among that circle ;-).
This brings us to two of my main points: 1. You can have two of the same foods, but how it is grown, raised, harvested, processed, packaged and/or prepared can make or break your eating experience, and often even your health.
2. Have you ever seen lye (you know, the same ingredient that makes lutefisk...lutefisk) or ferrous gluconate (elemental iron) shown on the list of ingredients on canned olives? Also, while on that note, the proven carcinogen glyphosate (originally known from Roundup the weed-killer) is also an ingredient NOT listed on any of the non-organic wheat, oats, corn, soy, etc. -based products, even though it has been reported multiple times that wheat crops are sprayed the day before harvesting in order to separate the wheat and chaff more easily (https://www.ecowatch.com/roundup-cancer-1882187755.html).
Mystery ingredients are used for everything BUT your own benefit. That’s why in our products and on our labels have only the simple but delcious ingredients that you can pronounce and that bring nourishment to your body.