Aligned table olives traditionally consumed in the Mediterranean basin are an excellent probiotic that can help maintain the health of our intestinal flora.
What is a probiotic food?
A probiotic food is one that has living bacteria that are beneficial to our body because they help to restore the normal intestinal microbiota that has been altered due to illness, operation or any disease. According to FAO and WHO, the definition of probiotic is a suspension of living microorganisms that, in adequate quantities, positively benefit the health of the person taking them.
In all areas of the world there is not one, but several meals with ferments of all kinds. Europe, Asia, America, Oceania and Africa, all continents have food with some kind of beneficial yeast, whether bacteria or fungus.
Scientists at the CSIC (Higher Council of Scientific Research) have discovered that bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus and some yeasts, responsible for the fermentation of the Spanish or Sevillian table olives, are found in the skin of these fruits during this process and if they are made properly they can be an excellent probiotic. These bacteria are both in the brine and in the skin of the olive so that the amount of bacteria that arrive “alive” to the intestine after passing through the stomach is quite high.
There are several studies to investigate thoroughly how to obtain the maximum of probiotic bacteria in the olives and that they arrive in an adequate way in the intestine.
To prepare table olives in brine and obtain the beneficial strains of lactic bacteria it is necessary that the process be correct.
The first thing to do is to wash the olives in water to eliminate bitterness. The olives must be broken or broken preferably, by means of a blow of these with a piece of wood or a flat object so that they open and the water penetrates into them and eliminate the oleoeuropein, a compound that gives the characteristic bitterness. Now they are made or several washed with water (natural treatment) or they are subjected to a reaction with Sodium Hydroxide (known as alkaline treatment). It seems that the washing of sodium hydroxide is more effective in forming the strains of lactic bacteria.
Then they are subjected to a salt water bath that, in the absence of air, promotes the appearance of lactic acid bacteria, exactly as it does with the cabbage when making sauerkraut or pickled cucumbers.
The ideal salt concentration or ClNa should be between 4-8%
They are allowed to ferment for about 30 days. We already have fermented olives rich in strains of lactic bacteria (BAL). Then add the desired dressing (thyme, fennel, garlic, lemon ...) and ready to eat.
When the process is industrial what is done next is to pack and pasteurize. The pasteurization treatment destroys the wonderful treasure of the strains of lactic bacteria. And here's our joy in a well, so most of the olives we find in the store are pasteurized.
Do you encourage yourself to buy the newly picked table olives, parting and aligning them at home?