Today’s Video of the Day comes from the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series and features a look at why tree-ripened fresh olives aren’t available in stores.
If you tried to eat an olive right off of the branch, it would taste pretty terrible due to a bitter compound called oleuropein. In order to remove oleuropein, you can soak olives in water or ferment them in salt brine, but both processes take several weeks.
A quicker solution is to soak the olives in sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. If air is mixed in during the treatment, the olives turn black when exposed to oxygen.
By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: American Chemical Society