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Kalamata olive

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A bowl of Kalamata olives
Olive (Olea europaea)
Color of the ripe fruitDark purple
Notable regionsKalamata
HazardsVerticillium wilt and cold
UseTable and oil
Oil content6
SymmetrySlightly asymmetrical
Kalamata olive
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy284 kJ (68 kcal)

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[2] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[3]

The Kalamata olive is a large, dark brown olive with a smooth, meaty texture, named after the city of Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese, Greece.[4][failed verification] Often used as table olives, they are usually preserved in wine vinegar or olive oil. Typically the term "Kalamata" legally refers to a region of Greece where these olives are grown, but a few countries (mainly outside the United States and European Union) use the name for such olives grown anywhere, even outside of Greece. Within the EU (and other countries that ratified PDO agreements or similar laws), the name is protected with PDO status, which means that the name can only be used for olives (and olive oil) from the region around Kalamata.[5] Olives of the same variety grown elsewhere are marketed as Kalamon olives in the EU and, sometimes, elsewhere.[6][7][8][9][10]


Old advertisement for soap-making from Kalamata olives

Kalamata olives are so-named because they were originally grown in the region around Kalamata, which includes Messenia and nearby Laconia, both located on the Peloponnese peninsula. They are now grown in many places around the world, including in the United States and Australia. They are almond-shaped, plump, dark purple olives[11] from a tree distinguished from the common olive by the size of its leaves, which grow to twice the size of other olive varieties.[4][failed verification] The trees are intolerant of cold and are susceptible to Verticillium wilt but are resistant to olive knot and to the olive fruit fly.[12]

Kalamata olives, which cannot be harvested green, must be hand-picked to avoid bruising.


Aetonychalea: Kalamata (old: Kalámai);
Aetonychi: Greece;
Aetonycholia: Kalamata, Patras;
Calamata: Agrínio, Aitoliko, Cyprus, Iznik, Kalamata, Lakonia, Messini, Peloponnese, Sparta, Western Cape (South Africa), California (USA);
Calamatiani: Greece;
Calamon: California, Kalamata, Crete, Lakonia, Lamia, Messini, Patras, Peloponnese, Tunisia, Western Australia;
Chondrolia: Kalamata, Lakonia, Messini, Patras;
Kalamata Jumbo and Kalamata Tiny: Western Australia;
Kalamatiani: Peloponnese;
Kalamon: Greece, China, Cyprus, Crete, Peloponnese, Perugia (Italy), South Africa;
Karakolia: Greece;
Nychati: Kalamata, Peloponnese;
Nychati di Kalamata: Aitoliko, Kalamata, Lakonia;
Tsigeli: Greece;
Karamursel Su Kalamata: Bursa, Gebze, Gölcük, Karamürsel, Kocaeli, the Marmara region;
Su Zeytini (Turkey).[13]


There are two methods of preparing Kalamata olives, known as the long and short methods. The short method debitters the olives by packing them in water or weak brine, which is changed daily for around a week. Once debittered, they are packed in brine and wine vinegar with a layer of olive oil and slices of lemon. The olives are often slit to decrease the processing time further. The long method involves slitting the olives and placing them in strong brine for up to three months to debitter them. Some polyphenol remains in the olives after processing, giving them a slightly bitter taste.[14]


  1. ^ "Kalamata Olives". Livestrong.com. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  2. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  3. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  4. ^ a b Miller, Korina (2010). Greece. Oakland, California: Lonely Planet. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-74179-228-7. Kalamata olive.
  5. ^ Quinn, Jennifer (29 July 2004). "Selling porkies - an almighty pie fight". BBC News Online Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Kalamon and Kalamata Olives – legislation changes the name". Archived from the original on 2014-05-19.
  7. ^ "On the different varieties of Greek olives".
  8. ^ "What is the difference between Kalamon olives and Kalamata olives?". Archived from the original on 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  9. ^ "Greek Olive Species".
  10. ^ "Olive Cultivars of South Africa". Archived from the original on 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  11. ^ Antol, Marie Nadine (2004). The Sophisticated Olive: The Complete Guide to Olive Cuisine. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers. pp. 37. ISBN 978-0-7570-0024-9. Kalamata olive.
  12. ^ Wiesman, Zeev (2009). Desert Olive Oil Cultivation: Advanced Biotechnologies. New York: Elsevier. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-12-374257-5.
  13. ^ "General Characters for Cultivar Kalamata".
  14. ^ Kailis, Stan (2007). Producing Table Olives. Collingwood, Vic.: Landlinks Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0-643-09203-7.