Candied olives: A Taiwanese Speciality
Candied olives are a Taiwanese delicacy. This specialty dates back to their Chinese culinary history. The Chinese love their olives. Chinese olive varieties are primarily cultivated for their quality in making jams and candy. They also make dried fruits and nuts. Unlike the Mediterranean, they are not known for making oil. They are preserved or cured in the same way as olives are in the western world. After the olives are preserved or cured, they are then candied and dried. Olives are often paired with goat cheeses, cured meats, and different varieties of seafood. They are commonly eaten with fresh herbs, such as garlic, rosemary, thyme, and cumin. Candied olives are eaten alone or as part of a desert. They even provide a healthy snack throughout the day!
The main difference between most Asian olive growers is whether a variety is suitable for fresh eating or only used for processing. Any of the many varieties can be used for candied olives. Candied olives are usually an acquired taste. Few children are born asking for olives. But in Asia, young children desire their favorite olive. They are considered a delicacy in Taiwan and most of Asia. They are a sweet treat! They are delicious! They are healthy!
What does history tell us about this humble fruit? Back in ancient time, the Olive tree held deep respect in all the ancient lands. During the time of Moses, the Israelites who would agree to work on the cultivation of the olive trees were exempted from serving in the military. Throughout classical literature, olives have always been a symbol that stood for goodness and purity. The ancient Israelites, not only used the oil of the olive for food, but they also burnt its oil in the Temple. Closer to modern times, we see the olive leaf used in the crown for the winning Olympic contestant.
In many countries a dinner is not complete without a bowl of olives on the table. Spain, Italy, Morocco, France, Lebanon, and Syria eat olives daily. Olives are very abundant, cheap,and almost everyone knows someone with an olive tree. They come in many varieties and colors. Some are pink, green, or black. In Morocco, almost every restaurant serves a bowl of olives with the meal. The only surprise is the variety and color that they may be!
The amazing olive tree is given credit for the overall health of the people who live in the Mediterranean region. They cook with the oil, that is so healthy and easy to use. They eat the freshly cured olives served on the table daily. They use the candied olives for desert. They use the leaves for many things, including medicinal purposes. The leaves of the olive tree are a lesser know usage, but are perhaps the most important of all. The olive leaf is a traditional medicinal herb known to be used clear back in ancient times. The therapeutic value of the olive leaf and it’s uses date back centuries. In Morocco, infusions are given to those suffering from Diabetes and those needing to lower the blood sugar quickly. This remedy has been written up in medical journals and is well documented.
Olives and the Olive Tree are considered to be antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. They are used in the Mediterranean countries to cure infections inside the body. Eating olives is known also to help us burn body fat more efficiently. All forms of the olive is good. Have you had your daily olives today?
In Traditional Chinese medicine, all parts of the olive are used for medicinal purposes. Followers of traditional medicine like to use good quality olives in a variety of ways. They believe that the olive fruits are extremely useful as an anti-inflammatory and for their detox properties. Olives are also used to relieve sore throats, chronic coughs, and fever. Olives are easy to candy and can be used like candy when you have a sore throat or cough.
Throughout the East, olives are used for therapeutic purposes. They are often seen in regional folklore and many schools of traditional medicine. Eastern doctors have been known to use them to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and uric acid. Because the fruit is bitter, the oil is usually used cured or candied. It has also been used to treat diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, inflammation, diarrhea, respiratory and urinary tract infections. Other things olive oil is used for are stomach and intestinal diseases, asthma, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, as a laxative, and a mouth wash. While not much research has been done on Olive oil by Western scientists, much has been done in the East. World wide, those that use it attest to its healing qualities.
Because the olive is so bitter, people often use them as table olives, candied for a desert, or as Olive Oil. That is by far the most common way to use olives, with over 90% of the olive market going for the production of oil. For those of you who like to cook, an easy desert recipe is included below. I would suggest going to an olive bar and experimenting with different varieties of olives.
Following is a basic recipe for candied olives. The suggested variety is Kalamata olives. Try different varieties until you find the one you enjoy the most.
1 cup pitted Kalamata Olives
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Place Kalamata olives in a medium pot, add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes, then strain the olives. Repeat the process 6 times, with a fresh two cups of water each time.
Now for the seventh round of cooking, place the olives in the pot. Add 1 quart water and 2 cups sugar. Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. Place in a container and let sit overnight in the sugar-water.
The next day, remove olives from water and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spread out, sprinkle sugar enough to cover each olive. Shake pan to coat olives evenly. Then place cookie sheet on the floor of the oven until dry and crispy. The heat from the pilot light will slowly dry the olives. (For those without a pilot light, you can dry on a cookie sheet in the sun on the table or outside. Just think outside the box, and you will surprise yourself with a new treat for the cold winter months.)
For those of you who are looking for something really special and unique, with a touch of sweetness, healthy, but not outrageous, how about satisfying your sweet tooth with Castelvetrano Olives? The following recipe is for those who can not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but want something unique and pleasing to the taste buds.
by Zomg • February 8, 2011 (found on food52.com)
Makes 1 cup
28 Castelvetrano Olives
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cane sugar, to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 300. Pit and halve olives. Select olives that are firm and fresh-looking for best results.
Over medium-low heat combine olives, cane sugar, lemon juice, and water in a small saucepan. Stir vigorously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Note: Your results and cooking time will vary based on your stove and the thickness of your cookware. If the mixture looks over-active, remove the pan, set heating element to a lower temperature, and resume cooking.
Keep a watchful eye as the syrup begins to thicken. Once you can pass your spoon through the liquid and count 2 full seconds before it closes up afterward the olives are ready for finishing.
Carefully pour the olives and syrup onto a prepared baking tray. Spread evenly and sprinkle with remaining cane sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until olives are firm and the syrup is thick.
Remove and let cool. These will keep in the fridge for a week…if they last that long!
So what do those do who have just made Awesome Candied Olives, only to find that they do not like them sweet? Yes, it is an acquired taste. Like many other things throughout Asia, you either love them or you hate them. Table olives are a delicious option, but eventually they too can get tiring. So give your taste buds a special treat. Following is an awesome olive spread for pizza and then top it with chopped garlic and basil. This pizza is the best of both worlds. It is quick, it is easy, and it is healthy.
BLACK OLIVE SAUCE ARAB STYLE
½ kilo fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200 gr black olives, pitted and sliced
1 tbsp capers
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp paprika
dash of Tabasco
Heat olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Fry until it is transparent then add the garlic.
Fry over a low heat for 5 mins.
Add all the other ingredients and stir well. It may need a little water, but not much. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to very low and simmer for 20 mins.
Serve on pizza and top with garlic and fresh basil. If you like, add fresh chopped coriander leaves as a garnish. Why not serve Candied Olives for desert? One day you may wake up and find you can’t live without them.
It really is completely impossible to eat too many olives. Freshly cured olives, extra virgin olive oil and olive leaves are very much a part of the daily diet of the Mediterranean area. Medical research throughout the Western nations is showing that eating olives in any form is beneficial for good health. Many are finding that eating olives or olive oil can even help older woman prevent those dreaded wrinkles. Some scientists are now suggesting that it may slow the aging process, and that it may even help stop hot flushes in menopausal women. That in itself would be enough to help some learn to like candied olives. The nice thing about candied olives is that you can snack on them throughout the day. Then at lunch you can make an olive pizza, and for dinner why not have a large dinner salad with olive oil drizzled across the top. Garnish your salad with table olives. And while you watch TV, why not have some more of those delicious candied olives? Stay young, stay healthy……. the olive way!
Have you ever considered embarking on an olive adventure? Taiwan is a small island, but there are so many different cultures. Each family has their favorite family recipe. Even within the same ethnic group or tribe, each family has their own variation. Candied olive recipes are held close to the heart. Rarely will someone tell you the recipe, but they love to share the results. As you travel from the North to the South the style and recipes will change. You may even walk across the street and find your all time favorite.
Asians are very health conscious as a people, and you do not see as many treats dripping in sugar, as in the west. For this reason it should not be a major surprise to see the humble olive as the star on the desert table. Check out the many local buffets as you travel through the island, the you will see many different types of olives used to make these delicious treats. If at first they are not a favorite, don’t give up! One day you will find the perfect candied olive for your taste buds. Candied olives delicious! They are healthy and unique! Try them, you may love them!
For those who want to try the real thing—-we will see you in Taiwan! There is no perfect time to travel to Taiwan, the weather is nice year around. If you want to participate in a particular festival, then make your reservations far ahead. Those are the busy times. Especially things like New Years and The Dragon Boat races can make accommodations hardier to find. If traveling during these times, just think ahead and make those reservations early.
Whatever the season, enjoy your olive adventure, in Taiwan!
This is also an authorized post on seemit under @exploretraveler