• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
gfron1

Are olives poisonous before curing?

22 posts in this topic

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

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, they are not poisonous just disgusting. What possibly could curing do to fix poison?

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/H%C3%A1karl

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Except that birds, deer etc. stuff themselves with nightshade... :hmmm:


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"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.

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe he's thinking of cashews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

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

Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I knew that olives straight off the tree were disgusting, but tonight my spouse says they're poisonous.  I say BS.  Are they?

"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.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's the question I'd like answered given I am not dead. .... Do folks cure them at home?

Yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And HERE'S how.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The oil is centrifuged to separate the oil from the water. H2O is discarded.


"I drink to make other people interesting".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

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.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

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.

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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.