Black olives are the ripe, small fruits of trees that are native to Mediterranean Europe. Ripe black olives such as French Niçoise, Greek Kalamata, or Italian Gaeta varieties are cured in salt, seasonings, brines, vinegars, and oils and have a pungent flavor. Moroccan olives are ripe fruits that have first been dried in the sun, then packed in oil. Large pitted black olives are available canned. Cured black olives are sold by the pound and in bottles or cans.
To pit an olive:
Use a special olive pitter, which grips the olive and pushes out the pit in one squeeze. Or, with a small knife, slit the olive lengthwise down to the pit and pry the flesh away from the pit. If the flesh sticks to the pit, carefully cut away.