“I love olives, and enjoy all the different varieties I see on your typical grocery store olive bar,” says paulispumonti. “But the colors of some of these olives seem unnaturally vibrant.” Should you be suspicious of those beautiful hues of green, magenta, and robust black?
For the most part, no, says bushwickgirl. “Do not fear, olives are not dyed, rather just salt brined or oil-, water-, dry-, and lye-cured etc. either unripened or ripened, and as they ripen from green to black either before or during the curing process, they change into varying stages of color, including faded red-greys, mottled greens and muddy browns, or shades of purple along with the midnight black.”
There are exceptions, though. “Cerignolas—bright green and bright red, are dyed,” says pitterpatter. Both the green and the red are “garish non-natural colors,” says Delucacheesemonger. And Castelvetranos are sometimes dyed, but they don’t need to be. “Castelvetranos are chemically processed similar to California Mission olives, and are canned to prevent oxidation and to maintain their bright green hue,” says bushwickgirl. “If the brand you’re buying has been dyed, switch to another brand. Dyeing is not necessary.”