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#1
Old 09-29-2015, 01:55 PM
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Olives with pits in Greek salad

Seems like every time I order a "Greek" salad, the olives have pits in them. Now, granted, I'm getting these salads from low-quality sources like diners and bars. So I probably shouldn't expect much but damn, it's annoying to have to stop and dig the pit out of each olive I encounter in the course of eating the salad. Are pre-pitted olives really that much more expensive?
#2
Old 09-29-2015, 02:07 PM
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For some reason, kalamata olives are usually sold with pits in them. IIRC when I worked at a high-end restaurant and made salads, the kalamata olives had pits in them too.

I don't know why they commonly are sold with pits, while pitted black olives are the norm (and also, one can purchase pitted kalamata olives). These two pages at least confirm that they are usually sold with seeds:

http://wisegeek.com/what-are-kalamata-olives.htm
http://bhg.com/recipes/how-to/co...lamata-olives/
#3
Old 09-29-2015, 02:11 PM
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Indeed, I recently purchased a half-pound of pitted kalamata olives, and have been enjoying them greatly. I don't remember how much they cost, but I don't think it was outrageously expensive.
#4
Old 09-29-2015, 02:23 PM
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Seems to me that olives with the pits still in are considerably more expensive than pitted olives, and putting them in a salad would be a way of showing that they're fresher and of higher quality than pitted olives that might have been sitting in a jar of brine for God knows how long.

It's not like it's that hard to slice the meat off the seed with your knife before mixing the salad up.
#5
Old 09-29-2015, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
It's not like it's that hard to slice the meat off the seed with your knife before mixing the salad up.
I expect a restaurant salad to be served already mixed up, and indeed they usually are, which means I either have to hunt through the salad initially, searching for olives, or stop and attend to each one as I encounter it. It's silly. I shouldn't need a knife to eat a salad.
#6
Old 09-29-2015, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba View Post
I expect a restaurant salad to be served already mixed up
Maybe you and I dine in different sorts of establishments, but I wouldn't expect that unless I had specifically asked for the salad to be served tossed. In my experience, the default is a bed of greens with the vegetables and meat arranged on top and the dressing either drizzled over the entire salad or served on the side.

In any event, the only time I've personally received a salad with pit-in olives was at a Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza place here in Olympia, in a simple salad of greens, artichokes, olives, and mushrooms, with bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side for dressing it to your taste.

Last edited by Smapti; 09-29-2015 at 02:55 PM.
#7
Old 09-29-2015, 03:15 PM
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I'm used to kalamata olives having pits in salads, and I tend to buy them with pits when I shop. On the rare occasions I have to buy pitted, either because the store is out of ones with pits or because I need a large number for a recipe and don't feel like pitting a ton of olives, the pitted ones seem mushy and less appetizing. Their flesh doesn't seem as firm as some other varieties of olive.
#8
Old 09-29-2015, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Maybe you and I dine in different sorts of establishments, but I wouldn't expect that unless I had specifically asked for the salad to be served tossed. In my experience, the default is a bed of greens with the vegetables and meat arranged on top and the dressing either drizzled over the entire salad or served on the side.
This has been my experience too. The salad is never pre-tossed, and often the pieces of meat and vegetables are entirely too large and I have to cut it up myself, as well. It's part of the reason I rarely order salads in restaurants anymore, they're just too much work.

Also, you'd think if they expected me to toss the salad myself, they'd give me a bigger bowl. Just stirring the dressing around makes me spill half the salad on the table.
#9
Old 09-29-2015, 03:26 PM
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Well, regardless of whether the salad is served in a tossed or untossed state, I maintain that removing the pits from the olives is preparatory work that should be done in the kitchen, not left to the customer. The idea that serving olives with the pits in would make the customer think the food was "fresher" is absurd to me. The pits don't prove anything about the freshness of the olives.

If you don't make the customer chop up their own greens, you shouldn't make them pit their own olives.
#10
Old 09-29-2015, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
In any event, the only time I've personally received a salad with pit-in olives was at a Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza place here in Olympia, in a simple salad of greens, artichokes, olives, and mushrooms, with bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side for dressing it to your taste.
So they made you pit your own olives AND mix your own dressing? Did they bother to cut up the vegetables?
#11
Old 09-29-2015, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba View Post
Well, regardless of whether the salad is served in a tossed or untossed state, I maintain that removing the pits from the olives is preparatory work that should be done in the kitchen, not left to the customer. The idea that serving olives with the pits in would make the customer think the food was "fresher" is absurd to me. The pits don't prove anything about the freshness of the olives.

If you don't make the customer chop up their own greens, you shouldn't make them pit their own olives.
I'm with you on this. I also hate when they serve shellfish with the shells still attached in things like cioppino or paella. When served something to eat with a fork or spoon, I don't want to have to use my fingers to go picking around in it.
#12
Old 09-29-2015, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba View Post
Are pre-pitted olives really that much more expensive?
I don't know about expense, but they are inferior. They go mushy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
For some reason, kalamata olives are usually sold with pits in them.
They go mushy, that's why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba View Post
lThe pits don't prove anything about the freshness of the olives.
They establish that the olives were not factory-pitted.

Last edited by Peremensoe; 09-29-2015 at 05:34 PM.
#13
Old 09-29-2015, 05:35 PM
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I agree with the OP. Here is the counterargument from stackexchange. The person says that olives with pits taste better.

"When an olive is picked and brined, the olive skin provides a barrier between the tasty fruit and the liquid medium. When the fruit is pierced to remove the seed, the unprotected pulp of the fruit is in constant, direct contact with the brine liquid. This direct contact allows the natural juices, which are protected by the olive skin in regular, unpitted, olives, to leach out into the brine liquid, reducing the flavor proportionally."

Another olive fan says the same thing: " Pits give olives their firm structure. With them, they're the shimmering highlight of charcuterie and meze platters. Without the pits, olives are a briny, saggy mess. They become a deflated, literal shell of their former selves and belong virtually nowhere."
#14
Old 09-29-2015, 05:54 PM
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All right, I concede that olives sold pre-pitted may be mushy and less flavorful. But if the restaurant removed the pits just prior to serving the food, the olives would still be firm and full of flavor. You wouldn't say, "Oh, these olives have no pits. I bet they were pitted in the factory!" You'd say, "Mmm, what delicious, plump, obviously fresh olives!" You shouldn't have to leave the food in a semi-inedible state just to prove that it's fresh. The freshness should be evident in the taste and texture.

If you make a salad with walnuts in it, do you leave them in the shells? Maybe give the customer a nutcracker to open them with? A salad with pits left in the olives makes as much sense as that.
#15
Old 09-29-2015, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba View Post
it's annoying to have to stop and dig the pit out of each olive I encounter in the course of eating the salad.
Not sure if I'm parsing this wrong, but...

You're not supposed to remove the pits before inserting the olives into your face. You insert the olives, the spit out the pits. Do it the way you eat cherries.

Olives with pits tend do tend to taste a lot better, IMO.

Mmm... olives.
#16
Old 09-29-2015, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
You're not supposed to remove the pits before inserting the olives into your face. You insert the olives, the spit out the pits. Do it the way you eat cherries.
I've never been able to do that, with olives or cherries. I eat a cherry by biting off half the flesh, squeezing the pit out with my fingers, then eating the other half of the flesh.
#17
Old 09-29-2015, 09:11 PM
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In Greece the olives in the salad come with pits. It's authenticity!
#18
Old 09-30-2015, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
You're not supposed to remove the pits before inserting the olives into your face. You insert the olives, the spit out the pits. Do it the way you eat cherries.
So much this.

And I don't understand the aversion to using one's hands when eating shellfish, either. That's expected when you get seafood in the shell. Hell, there's a lovely seafood restaurant locally that doesn't give you any cutlery - mussel shells are your implements.
#19
Old 09-30-2015, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
You're not supposed to remove the pits before inserting the olives into your face. You insert the olives, the spit out the pits.
This. Except...
Don't know how strict a definition you are using for "spit". I was taught to put the olive in my mouth, remove the fruit by biting through and peeling with my teeth (mouth closed, of course), then raise my fork back up- right against my closed lips, then gently eject the pit onto the fork, lower the fork and use it to place the pit onto the side of the plate.

When I buy kalamata olives for use at home, I buy them pitted because I am lazy.
I can, however, definitely taste the superior quality when I am served non-pitted kalamata olives in a restaurant.

As to why the restaurant doesn't pit them just before serving them, without the in-mouth technique it seems unproductively time consuming to pit enough olives for an entire evening's dinner service. Done by hand and knife? Each and every olive one at a time? Ugh. They'd have to raise the price of each salad by $10 just to cover labor costs!
#20
Old 09-30-2015, 09:49 AM
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In Europe the olives on PIZZA come with the pits still in. I have zero idea what the hell I'm supposed to do with that.
#21
Old 09-30-2015, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
Not sure if I'm parsing this wrong, but...

You're not supposed to remove the pits before inserting the olives into your face. You insert the olives, the spit out the pits. Do it the way you eat cherries.

Olives with pits tend do tend to taste a lot better, IMO.

Mmm... olives.
Call me whatever, but I love sucking on a Kalamata pit once I chew off the flesh. Salt!
#22
Old 09-30-2015, 01:50 PM
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Pitted kalamatas are an abomination!

Since they're long and thin, relative to the varieties used for the typical black or green olives, attempting to mechanically pit them results in heartbreak. You either lose too much flesh or the pitting process mangles the olive.
#23
Old 09-30-2015, 02:13 PM
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Yes, having to spit things out of your mouth is so classy. Are these also those places where you throw the peanut shells on the floor? Do they have a little spittoon next to your plate?

I admit that I don't really like green olives (too sour), but I have gotten them in salads on occasion, and they've always been sliced and pitted. Though I've never gotten a "Greek" salad--this was from salad bars.
#24
Old 09-30-2015, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
...Though I've never gotten a "Greek" salad--this was from salad bars.
If you don't eat Greek salads, why do you care if they come with pitted olives or a giant, unhusked coconut?

Eating the olive flesh and then briefly sucking the pit is part of the joy of a Greek salad. The olives have pits, crabs have shells, fruit has seeds. Deal with it.
#25
Old 09-30-2015, 04:35 PM
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If I ever order a salad and it comes with an unhusked coconut on it, I'm asking for my money back.
#26
Old 09-30-2015, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bienville View Post
Don't know how strict a definition you are using for "spit".
I try to hit the waiter in the eye.

Quote:
I was taught to put the olive in my mouth, remove the fruit by biting through and peeling with my teeth (mouth closed, of course), then raise my fork back up- right against my closed lips, then gently eject the pit onto the fork, lower the fork and use it to place the pit onto the side of the plate.
This sounds mighty complicated and specific. I guess I've never really paid attention to how I actually do it, but I'm pretty sure fingers are involved.

Although maybe I should look into the finer points of pit-ejection etiquette, just in case I'm ever invited to having a Greek salad with the Queen.
#27
Old 09-30-2015, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
I try to hit the waiter in the eye.


This sounds mighty complicated and specific. I guess I've never really paid attention to how I actually do it, but I'm pretty sure fingers are involved.

Although maybe I should look into the finer points of pit-ejection etiquette, just in case I'm ever invited to having a Greek salad with the Queen.
The Miss Manners etiquette rule is that you remove food from your mouth the same way you got it there. If you're eating with a fork, then back on the fork it goes: http://uexpress.com/miss-manners...out-the-way-it

I don't remember ever getting an unpitted olive in a salad, but after this thread and how common it is, I'm assuming I have. Apparently it doesn't bother me. I do get irritated when the vegetables aren't sufficiently chopped, though.
#28
Old 09-30-2015, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
This sounds mighty complicated and specific.
Not so complicated. Ship me a jar of nice kalamata olives, I'll make a video of the technique and post it on YouTube.*




*Not totally a joke. I do not feel particularly inclined to post a video of myself eating olives, but if someone buys me a jar of olives and ships it to me, I will post a video.
#29
Old 09-30-2015, 09:25 PM
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SO many filthy jokes come to mind....
#30
Old 10-01-2015, 08:01 AM
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What nobody has mentioned is that with a properly cured Kalamata olive, the pit has separated from the flesh inside, so it's trivially easy to remove the pit with the olive in your mouth using only your teeth and tongue. Most other olives aren't that way (just try to do it with an unpitted Queen olive), which is why they have to be pre-pitted.
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