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: