Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Are olives poisonous before curing?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 gfron1

gfron1
  • legacy participant
  • 4,057 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 02 February 2008 - 09:55 PM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous. I say BS. Are they?

#2 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 02 February 2008 - 10:05 PM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

View Post


At least according to Wikipedia, unprocessed olives are apparently not poisonous:

Olives freshly picked from the tree contain phenolic compounds and a unique glycoside, oleuropein, which makes the fruit unpalatable for immediate consumption. There are many ways of processing olives for table use . . . [long excursus on olive processing methods, omitted for brevity]. The olives can be tasted at any time as the bitter compounds are not poisonous, and oleuropein is a useful antioxidant in the human diet.



#3 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,648 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 02 February 2008 - 10:29 PM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

View Post


Yes- we got the same party line as kids. They were discouraging us from eating them or playing with them I think. The adults were picking and curing them. We had plenty of other "trouble" to get in to, so we just left them alone. I am interested in the curing process.

#4 Qwerty

Qwerty
  • participating member
  • 493 posts

Posted 03 February 2008 - 12:46 AM

No, they are not poisonous just disgusting. What possibly could curing do to fix poison?

#5 rooftop1000

rooftop1000
  • participating member
  • 2,839 posts
  • Location:hills of north jersey

Posted 03 February 2008 - 05:31 AM

No, they are not poisonous just disgusting. What possibly could curing do to fix poison?

View Post



Oh you dont ever want to ask an Icelander that question...at least not when there is a dish of shark on your table :shock: (shudder)
http://en.wikipedia....org/wiki/Hákarl


tracey
The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers
Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage
garden state motorcyle association

#6 C. sapidus

C. sapidus
  • participating member
  • 2,568 posts
  • Location:Maryland

Posted 03 February 2008 - 06:35 AM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

View Post

"What is it that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison.
It is the dose only that makes a thing not a poison."
Paracelsus (1493-1541)

In other words, anything can be poisonous if consumed in sufficient quantity. This is the basis for the science of toxicology. The term "poison" is reserved for highly toxic compounds - typically those capable of causing 50% mortality at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This would translate to a lethal dose of 4 grams for a person weighing 80 kilograms (about 176 pounds). For comparison, 3 grams of sodium chloride (table salt) per kilogram of body weight is considered 50% lethal - equivalent to 240 grams of table salt for an 80 kilogram (176 pound) person. Most would consider a serving containing 240 grams of sodium chloride to be seriously overseasoned. :wink:

Quick googling did not turn up anything specific on the toxicity of uncured olives. Based on numerous reports of consumption by birds, farm animals, and dogs, we can confidently surmise that the toxicity of uncured olives does not qualify for the "poison" designation.

#7 Mallet

Mallet
  • participating member
  • 875 posts
  • Location:Halifax, NS (currently in Kingston ON)

Posted 03 February 2008 - 08:02 AM

Quick googling did not turn up anything specific on the toxicity of uncured olives. Based on numerous reports of consumption by birds, farm animals, and dogs, we can confidently surmise that the toxicity of uncured olives does not qualify for the "poison" designation.

View Post


Except that birds, deer etc. stuff themselves with nightshade... :hmmm:
Martin Mallet
<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

#8 gfron1

gfron1
  • legacy participant
  • 4,057 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 03 February 2008 - 08:34 AM

"What is it that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison.
It is the dose only that makes a thing not a poison."
Paracelsus (1493-1541)

In other words, anything can be poisonous if consumed in sufficient quantity. This is the basis for the science of toxicology. The term "poison" is reserved for highly toxic compounds - typically those capable of causing 50% mortality at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This would translate to a lethal dose of 4 grams for a person weighing 80 kilograms (about 176 pounds). For comparison, 3 grams of sodium chloride (table salt) per kilogram of body weight is considered 50% lethal - equivalent to 240 grams of table salt for an 80 kilogram (176 pound) person. Most would consider a serving containing 240 grams of sodium chloride to be seriously overseasoned. :wink:

Quick googling did not turn up anything specific on the toxicity of uncured olives. Based on numerous reports of consumption by birds, farm animals, and dogs, we can confidently surmise that the toxicity of uncured olives does not qualify for the "poison" designation.

View Post

I love eGullet! That is the type of answer you won't find on any other foodie website. Thanks. I'm going to salt my eggs now...

#9 Daniel Rogov

Daniel Rogov
  • participating member
  • 936 posts

Posted 03 February 2008 - 10:45 AM

Olive oil is pressed from uncured olives and is most surely not poisonous. Do, however, be wary of how many peach pits you eat!

#10 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 2,685 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 03 February 2008 - 11:55 AM

Quick googling did not turn up anything specific on the toxicity of uncured olives. Based on numerous reports of consumption by birds, farm animals, and dogs, we can confidently surmise that the toxicity of uncured olives does not qualify for the "poison" designation.

View Post

Not to mention the hapless visitors to our neighbors, who loved suckering city slickers into trying them. I'm not sure anyone ever finished an olive, though, and they learned to beware Wes' sense of humor.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#11 Dignan

Dignan
  • participating member
  • 550 posts
  • Location:Spearfish, SD

Posted 03 February 2008 - 02:58 PM

Maybe he's thinking of cashews.

#12 ray goud

ray goud
  • participating member
  • 275 posts
  • Location:seymour, ct

Posted 04 February 2008 - 02:49 PM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

View Post

NO!!! But they are so bitter and astringent that one couldn't be poisoned even if they were!
Ray

#13 Ndy

Ndy
  • participating member
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Kansas City

Posted 04 February 2008 - 03:44 PM

I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

View Post

"What is it that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison.
It is the dose only that makes a thing not a poison."
Paracelsus (1493-1541)

In other words, anything can be poisonous if consumed in sufficient quantity. This is the basis for the science of toxicology. The term "poison" is reserved for highly toxic compounds - typically those capable of causing 50% mortality at a dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This would translate to a lethal dose of 4 grams for a person weighing 80 kilograms (about 176 pounds). For comparison, 3 grams of sodium chloride (table salt) per kilogram of body weight is considered 50% lethal - equivalent to 240 grams of table salt for an 80 kilogram (176 pound) person. Most would consider a serving containing 240 grams of sodium chloride to be seriously overseasoned. :wink:

Quick googling did not turn up anything specific on the toxicity of uncured olives. Based on numerous reports of consumption by birds, farm animals, and dogs, we can confidently surmise that the toxicity of uncured olives does not qualify for the "poison" designation.

View Post

mmm. salt.
At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. ‐ Salvador Dali

#14 Peter the eater

Peter the eater
  • participating member
  • 2,610 posts
  • Location:Halifax, Nova Scotia

Posted 04 February 2008 - 06:19 PM

I saw green unprocessed rock-hard olives in my grocery store a few years ago. Naturally I bought a few for research purposes and took them home. I tried to eat a few as is - highly unpalatable is a big understatement. So why are they sold this way? That's the question I'd like answered given I am not dead. Are people pressing their own oil? Do folks cure them at home?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#15 ChefCrash

ChefCrash
  • participating member
  • 708 posts

Posted 04 February 2008 - 08:28 PM

That's the question I'd like answered given I am not dead. .... Do folks cure them at home?


Yes.

#16 gfron1

gfron1
  • legacy participant
  • 4,057 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 04 February 2008 - 08:35 PM

And HERE'S how.

#17 abooja

abooja
  • participating member
  • 444 posts
  • Location:Miami Lakes, FL

Posted 05 February 2008 - 07:53 AM

I saw green unprocessed rock-hard olives in my grocery store a few years ago... Are people pressing their own oil? Do folks cure them at home?

View Post

My grandmother used to buy those all the time and cure them herself. We'd hear her up on the third floor whacking them with a hammer to crack them (for some inexplicable reason). She'd stick them in a jar with a bunch of spices and vinegar, then straight into the fridge (I believe), where they'd sit for many weeks. God bless her, they were horrible. You couldn't pay me to eat one as a kid, and I loved olives.

#18 Peter the eater

Peter the eater
  • participating member
  • 2,610 posts
  • Location:Halifax, Nova Scotia

Posted 05 February 2008 - 09:43 AM

And HERE'S how.

View Post


Thanks Rob.

I love this place, lazy people like me can ask easy questions about food without fear of humiliation.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#19 deltadoc

deltadoc
  • participating member
  • 470 posts

Posted 05 February 2008 - 10:27 AM

My understanding is that after the olives are pressed, the juice is allowed to sit, until the oil separates from the liquid part. The liquid part is then discarded, I think.

Anyway, to answer a previous question "how to you remove the poison?", read up on how rapeseed (canola) oil is processed.

doc

#20 Raoul Duke

Raoul Duke
  • participating member
  • 358 posts
  • Location:California's Central Coast

Posted 05 February 2008 - 01:14 PM

The oil is centrifuged to separate the oil from the water. H2O is discarded.
"I drink to make other people interesting".

#21 FoodMan

FoodMan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,308 posts

Posted 05 February 2008 - 01:26 PM

I saw green unprocessed rock-hard olives in my grocery store a few years ago... Are people pressing their own oil? Do folks cure them at home?

View Post

My grandmother used to buy those all the time and cure them herself. We'd hear her up on the third floor whacking them with a hammer to crack them (for some inexplicable reason). She'd stick them in a jar with a bunch of spices and vinegar, then straight into the fridge (I believe), where they'd sit for many weeks. God bless her, they were horrible. You couldn't pay me to eat one as a kid, and I loved olives.

View Post

My grandmother still does that. I am planning on trying it some time. you have to crack them for the brine and seasoning to penetrate and for the bitterness to be removed. She used to crack and soak them in several changes of water for a couple of days to remove the bitterness. Never vinegar though, just salt, water, lemon and chilies and they are delicious.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#22 abooja

abooja
  • participating member
  • 444 posts
  • Location:Miami Lakes, FL

Posted 05 February 2008 - 02:05 PM

My grandmother used to buy those all the time and cure them herself.  We'd hear her up on the third floor whacking them with a hammer to crack them (for some inexplicable reason).  She'd stick them in a jar with a bunch of spices and vinegar, then straight into the fridge (I believe), where they'd sit for many weeks.  God bless her, they were horrible.  You couldn't pay me to eat one as a kid, and I loved olives.

View Post

My grandmother still does that. I am planning on trying it some time. you have to crack them for the brine and seasoning to penetrate and for the bitterness to be removed. She used to crack and soak them in several changes of water for a couple of days to remove the bitterness. Never vinegar though, just salt, water, lemon and chilies and they are delicious.

View Post

Your grandmother must be a better cook than mine was. Oh, she could bang out a tasty pot of lentil soup or escarole (OSH-KA-ROLL) like no one's business, but these olives left much to be desired. I wish I had a jar of her olives to test right now. My tastes have matured some since I was a kid, when canned Lindsay's (or Oberti's, etc.) were the only olives I'd put in my mouth. :unsure: