Follow The Olive: Manzanilla Olives

Manzanilla means “little apple” and originated in Spain. It is regarded as the premium green table cultivar in the world and although popular in South Africa, it is planted on a much smaller scale than Mission, because it is mainly suited for green processing, for which the market demand is lower.

The fruit is larger than Mission, about 5 g, with a high flesh to pit ratio, the flesh making up about 90% of the fruit mass. The fruit is round to oval-round and, when ripe, has an attractive velvet-black colour. It starts to ripen at the end of February, earlier than the Mission. Under drought conditions the fruit may colour before reaching full size. Manzanilla ripens rapidly, taking two weeks once full size has been attained, and because it is most suitable for green processing it should be picked within this period.

Green Manzanilla has an excellent taste, texture and appearance. It is also suited for pitting and stuffing with pimiento. If handled with care it can be processed at the “red-black” stage to produce a good quality ripe olive.

Manzanilla has a medium to low oil content of acceptable quality and culls can be used for oil.

– Olive Production in South Africa by Carlo Costa

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

SA Olive introduces “FOLLOW THE OLIVE”

An in-depth look at the journey our beloved olives take from as early as being planted to the end of their life-cycle… being tasted and enjoyed! We look forward to sharing snippets of fun and fascinating information with you over the course of the year.

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