I've just bought olives in foil bag in Lidl (name Baresa Aceituuas verdes) because I like to eat olives. This is probably the 1st time I eat them with no other products (not in salad etc.)

They are so salty that I can hardly eat them. In country where I live it's not possible to buy fresh olives. So my question is: are olives from shops always very salty. Are fresh olives salty?

2 Answers 2


Fresh olives aren't salty, but they are very bitter. Thus they almost always cured and fermented to remove the bitter compounds. Salt is the most common curing medium, hence olives that you buy in the shops are usually salty.

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    This doesn't quite answer the question, which is no, they can be cured without salt, but very rarely are
    – TFD
    Jul 15, 2014 at 8:39

Biologically, they can't be salty when fresh. The tree would die if its internal juices were salty.

As Elendil said, fresh olives are practically inedible, or at least have a very unpleasant taste. This is why you can only get pickled olives, never fresh ones.

But olives differ by salt level. The worst offenders are probably Turkish stafidaki style olives (for some reason, they are saltier than Greek stafidaki style). They are small shrivelled black olives sold dry (without a brine). On the other end of the scale, you get some black Mamuts which are pretty bland. Markets with multiple olive types will sometimes note unusually high or low salt content on the label.

I find that many olives are not too salty to be eaten by themselves. They are salty, sure, but not more so than some dried meats. You may have gotten one of the saltier styles. You can try another style next time.

When you buy olives without knowing how salty they are, and they turn out too salty, you can remove the brine and keep them in clear tap water for 2-3 days, then eat.

  • good hint with keeping in water Jul 15, 2014 at 6:15
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    EDIT: after keeping in tap water in the fridge for 1 day my olives have no taste Jul 23, 2014 at 9:55
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    @MarianPaździoch yes, there are olives without any taste on the market, just as with any other fruit and vegetable. Try getting better quality olives, small ethnic grocery stores (for example Turkish ones) tend to carry good quality, while the large brands in the supermarket like Kattus are rarely good, and the discounter house brands are frequently terrible.
    – rumtscho
    Jul 24, 2014 at 16:23
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    If olives from a jar are bitter, I found that replacing the brine by my own water-balsamic-salt brine helps improve their flavor.
    – papin
    Aug 19, 2015 at 18:09
  • When I was in the UK I tried buying green olives from everywhere, cheap and expensive (tesco, whole foods, waitrose etc.) they are all super salty compared to the Greek ones I buy in my home country (outside europe), maybe there's a rule in europe that dictates the minimum amount of salt.
    – Omu
    Nov 4, 2020 at 23:03

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