Child reaching for Spanish olives on a tree

What makes Spanish olives the best in the world?

learn all about spanish olives … main types … how to cure them … how to make olive leaf tea …
our recommendations … plus other articles on spanish food and recipes

Searching for the best olives?

You certainly won’t go far wrong with Spanish olives.

Throughout history, Spain’s long, hot growing season, suitable soils and cultivation expertise have resulted in the country being recognized as number one producer and exporter of quality olives and oils.

After all, the Roman Empire made Spain its main supplier of olives and olive oil – not Italy.

Even today, Italy still buys millions of tons of olive oil from Spain each year … to stick on an Italian label and demand exhorbitant prices!


Spain’s not only home to the largest number of olive trees … she also offers a wonderful variety – around 260 different types!

Some of the better-known are:

  • Manzanilla olives – juicy, green pulp and delicious flavor
  • Arbequina – noted for its nutty, smoky taste
  • Empeltre – a beautiful purplish-black
  • Queen – large, fat, green, mmm …

curing olives/pickling olives

But, when olives are freshly picked, they tend to have a bitter, acrid taste … they need curing.

Dare you cure your own olives from scratch? Here’s an easy way to do so …


  • 1 kilo firm, green olives
  • 3/4 litre mineral water
  • 1/4 litre white wine vinegar
  • 75 grams sea salt


  1. Soak olives in plenty of water for several hours to clean.
  2. Drain olives.
  3. Mix together mineral water, vinegar and salt.
  4. Plunge olives into mixture.
  5. Weigh olives down with a plate so they’re always fully submerged.
  6. Keep at room temperature for 1-3 months.

It’s best to allow the olives to cure for at least a month. Test from time-to-time so you’ll know when they’re perfect for eating.

Once cured, either eat just as they are, marinate with your favorite herbal mix, or remove pits, and stuff – with anchovies, red peppers, garlic, etc.

black or green spanish olives?

Picture of assorted black and green Spanish olives


All olives start green but, when left on the tree to ripen further, will turn various shades of brown/black.

So, which Spanish olives are the best … green or black?

Perhaps this depends on what you plan to use them for …

Nothing beats artisan-cured green olives as an appetizer … and to evoke fond memories of Spain.

Green olives tend to be better for stuffing than black – being firmer, their flavor mixing well with anchovies, red peppers, garlic, etc.

And, of course, you should use green olives – preferably manzilla – for martini

But when it comes to making olive paste, I think black olives are better.

Black olives also provide a healthy and colorful adornment which can turn simple dishes into a feast – sprinkle on top of smoked salmon and grated Manchego cheese … use as a contrast in Pipirrana salad … enliven an ensalada de pulpo or enslada de patatas. (Recipes from Tapas E-book – where you’ll also discover a couple of unusual recipes for black olive paste.)

about the nutrients in spanish olives

Did you know that olives are not only delicious … they’re also extremely healthy and considered an aphrodisiac?

Containing absolutely no cholesterol, they’re an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, iron, vitamin E, copper, and dietary fiber.

And, the moral of this story? …

… Snack on Spanish olives instead of crisps!

“The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for
medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12)

As you can see from the above Biblical quotation, it’s not just the olive that’s good for you – its leaves are too …

olive leaves

Olive leaves are packed with medicinal properties, providing an excellent homeopathic way to aid your immune system.

They help reduce high blood pressure, have anti-infective, anti-fungal, and anti-aging properties. So try this olive leaf tea recipe …


  • large spoon dried/ground olive leaves
  • 2 mugs boiling water
  • slice of lemon/honey(optional)


  1. Place olive leaves in muslin bag/tea ball.
  2. Steep in boiling water for 3-7 minutes, according to taste.
  3. Strain.
  4. Add a slice of lemon or spoon of honey if wished.

The resulting tea should be a pale amber in color, and you can enjoy between one and three cups daily.


Picture of different types of Spanish olives

Above you have just a few of our recommendations – cracked olives with garlic and herb marinade … anchovy-stuffed olives … mixed Spanish olives … black empeltre olives.

You can learn more about them, or order online, by clicking here.

Different recommended Spanish olives

And, here you have a selection of olive pátés and spreads – black empeltre olive spread … olive and piquillo pepper páté … sweet black empeltre olive spread … green manzanilla olive páté.

Click here to learn more about these special olive spreads, or to order online.


Here are some of our other pages which deal with Spanish Food and Spanish Recipes …

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