From tomatoes to pineapples, cranberries, apples, and oranges, it seems like you can get juice out of just about any fruit or vegetable. You can even add olives to that list, as olive juice features prominently in some cocktails. Is that all you can use olive juice for? What even is olive juice anyway?
Olive juice or olive brine includes olives as well as water, vinegar, and salt. Most often, olive juice appears as a star ingredient in dry martinis, but you can also drink it straight or mix it with food.
You may have more questions yet about olive juice. Does it have any health benefits or should you drink it sparingly? Can you make your own olive juice at home? Read on, as we’ll address all these points and more.
What Is Olive Juice?
Olive juice, as we mentioned in the intro, sometimes goes by the name olive brine. The main ingredient of this juice is none other than the humble olive. Grown all over the world, olives come from the Olea europaea family in the plantae kingdom.
They’re actually fruits, not vegetables. While most olives have a green color, you may also come across them in purple or black. Olives typically have a somewhat bitter taste, which makes them unappealing to some people. That’s probably partly why they’re more popular as garnishes.
If you eat an uncured olive, the bitter taste comes through much more. That’s because these olives contain higher levels of aglycone and oleuropein, two phenolic bitter acid compounds. If you consume olive leaves, these will taste bitter as well because of the oleuropein. You’ll also find these compounds in argan oil.
While olive oil remains the standout product made from olives, don’t sleep on olive juice. As we mentioned in the intro, this juice does not solely comprise olives. There’s also water, vinegar, and salt blended into the beverage. This gives olive juice the briny taste that makes it perfect for some cocktails.
Why add the other ingredients to olive juice? They help the olives stand out even more. Most martinis just wouldn’t taste the same if they didn’t have olives.
Is Olive Juice Bad for You?
Reading the ingredients list for olive juice, you may assume it’s no good for you. Surprisingly, that’s not true. Olive juice has many health benefits. Obviously, if you only get your olive brine with a martini, you negate many of these benefits. Be sure to drink the stuff on its own from time to time.
Here’s the benefits you may enjoy.
Fewer Free Radicals
Although you might not have guessed it, olive juice has lots of vitamin E thanks to the inclusion of the olives. While it’s recommended you eat olives instead of drink them to get the most vitamins, both methods of consumption do count.
What does vitamin E do? It cuts back on your body’s free radicals. There’s links to high counts of free radicals and the development of gastritis, stroke, some cancers, heart attacks, and heart disease. With less free radicals in your system, you could lower you chances of getting these diseases and conditions.
Better Immune Health
It doesn’t matter the time of year; you always want your immune system working at its best. Olive juice can help with that. It’s an anti-inflammatory beverage, mostly due to the vinegar. This provides plenty of antioxidants to your body. In turn, your immune system functions better and you can safeguard yourself from sickness.
Lots of Electrolytes
Your body has electrolytes, which maintain your levels of water and keep you hydrated. As you sweat, you lose these electrolytes, which in part explains the popularity of sports drinks. After all, these are supposed to restore your electrolyte levels.
Due to the salt content of olive juice, do you think it hydrates or dehydrates you? It’s the former, not the latter. Small portions of sodium can aide in hydration, meaning you can retain or boost electrolytes through olive juice.
Don’t quit drinking water altogether. Just know that olive juice won’t dehydrate you unless you consume it with alcohol.
Lowered Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you have to be choosy about what you eat and drink. Olive juice can stay on your list of beverages. Since olives come from trees, they have plant-based fats known as oleic acids. These fatty acids can bring your blood pressure down to more reasonable levels.
Potential Weight Loss Capabilities
Another benefit of oleic acid? If you’re obese or overweight, drinking olive juice can help you begin your path to weight loss. That’s because the acid kickstarts your body’s ability to burn fat.
Better Blood Sugar Control
Those with diabetes must carefully manage blood sugar levels each day. One way you can do that? With a drink of olive juice! The vinegar in this brine may keep your blood sugar levels from spiking.
Longer, Healthier Hair
If you have brittle hair from too many dyes and treatments, you’ll want to reach for the olive juice. The vitamin E in the beverage lessens your free radicals, yes, but it can also immensely help your hair.
Your hair follicles receive more blood circulation when you get vitamin E. This means your hair will grow long, beautiful, and healthy. You don’t just have to drink olive juice, either. If you’d prefer, you can apply it topically. Just make sure the beverage is warm!
More Flexible Muscles
Before, we talked about the importance of electrolytes in your body. Did you know your muscles require electrolytes to function and move? It’s true! They need minerals for the job, too.
Whether you work out or not, you still use your muscles all day, every day. By drinking olive juice, especially on those days you hit the gym, you give your body the healthy fats it needs for good muscle movement.
How to Make Olive Juice Yourself
Whether for a martini or just to drink, you can make olive juice at home. To do so, here’s what you need:
- Salt (two tablespoons)
- Vinegar (two tablespoons)
- Water (two and a half cups)
- Green olives (two cups)
You’ll also need a glass jar for the job. For the time being, only put the olives in the jar. Using a wooden spoon, push down on the olives. This means of producing their juices will deliver more olive flavor in every sip.
Next, dump in your other ingredients. Don’t fill the jar entirely, though. Now put your lid on, shaking the mixture until it blends. Through shaking, you get even more natural olive taste.
If you’re not going to drink your olive juice right away, then stash it in the fridge. It can sit there almost indefinitely (use your discretion, of course). In fact, by giving the mixture more time to sit, you’ll get a more intense olive flavor. Make sure that, before you start sipping, you do more shaking before opening the jar.
Other Ways to Use Olive Juice
We’ve already mentioned how you can drink olive juice straight or mix it with a cocktail (typically martinis). What if you’re not such a huge fan of the taste but you want the benefits olive juice has to offer?
You’re not totally out of luck. With a bit of creativity, you can add olive juice to many dishes.
Make a Broth for Vegetables
You can get double your dose of olives with this dish. First, you want to use some olive oil for sauteeing vegetables like chard, broccoli rabe, and kale. Then you want to make a broth using your olive juice. Serve and enjoy the true olive flavor in every bite!
Spread It Over Slaw
Instead of using dressing for your slaw, next time try olive juice. It really plays up the flavors of jalapeno, carrot, purple cabbage, celery, apple, and fennel. It’s recommended you put the slaw in the fridge before enjoying.
Mix it with Hummus
Hummus is one of those popular party foods you can’t go without. The next time you serve your own homemade hummus, make sure you put some olive juice in there. You’ll only need a touch. For the olives to stand out, it’s recommended you change out some chickpeas with white beans in the hummus recipe.
Prepare a Tasty Aioli
If you’re cooking up some grilled salmon or tuna or even a fish sandwich, you’ll love this aioli. Combine orange zest with olive juice to take your aioli to the next level.
Spice up Ketchup
Homemade ketchup will always beat the store-bought stuff. If you want your homemade ketchup to taste a bit spicier, use a mix of red pepper flakes and olive juice. You’ll love the hot new flavor!
Use a Natural Vinaigrette
Ditch the bottled vinaigrette and pour on something you made instead. You only need Dijon mustard, olive juice, white wine vinegar, grapefruit juice, and some olive oil to make a vinaigrette that tastes especially amazing with avocados and butter lettuce.
Olive juice sometimes goes by the name olive brine. It includes water, vinegar, and salt. While a popular ingredient in martinis, you can also drink olive juice straight or mix it with plenty of fun, healthy dishes.
This juice provides a lot of surprise benefits. It can boost your immune system, hair health, and maintain your blood sugar. You can also lose weight, drop your blood pressure, and ward off heart disease and some cancers with olive juice. Why not give it a try?
(Last Updated: July 24, 2020)