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Botija Olives: Why We're Obsessed

Christina Liva
mbg Food Contributor By Christina Liva
mbg Food Contributor
Christina Liva is a writer, recipe developer, and former mbg food editor. She founded Yay Lunch and is currently based in Virginia.

The sad truth about many, mass-produced olives we come across is that they are picked before they are ripe and softened with chemicals (much like how many out-of-season tomatoes are picked green for safe transport and later exposed to ethylene gas to ripen).

And (not to be a bummer, but) pretty much all canned olives are cooked.

The good news is that many olives are kept raw, brined and fermented naturally to maintain the fruit's myriad health benefits. Botija olives are one variety of raw olive that we're really into at the moment for their delicious, unique flavor.

Picked when ripe and kept raw, lacto-fermented using only sea salt and water, botijas come from a rare strain of olive tree in Peru that produce large, meaty, flavorful fruit. Packed with monounsaturated fat (the good kind), and vitamins A and E, calcium and antioxidants, they are as good for you as they taste.

The flavor can best be described as pure — the olive essence is strong and smooth without being overwhelming or bitter. Their soft texture makes them prefect for snacking on their own or adding them to all kinds of savory dishes.

Here's how we're using them now:

In Salads

Kale salad

Image by Cameron Whitman / Stocksy

Chop them up and add to salads like this one...

Over Grains

Overhead view of the black rice buddha bowl

Image by Laura Edwards / Laura Edwards

Throwing these flavorful olives (either whole or chopped) over quinoa, brown rice, millet and more will add flavor and texture to your next grain bowl, like this Spice-Roasted Cauliflower With Quinoa.

For Snacking

Botija Olives: Why We're Obsessed

Image by Darren Muir / Stocksy

Enjoy with crackers, fresh sliced or roasted veggies, fruit, nuts or hummus for a healthy snack or appetizer.

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