What is an Olive Spoon?

wiseGEEK Writer

An olive spoon is a long-handled kitchen utensil used to remove olives from jars or cans. Such spoons may have slits, or a single hole in the bottom of the spoon bowl which helps to drain off any liquid that is scooped up with the olive. This can be an advantage if you’re trying to remove olives from jars and you only want a few, but want to skip adding the oil or water from the jar to whatever you’re cooking. If you’re making martinis for instance, the water or oil in which the olives are packed doesn’t always make a tasty addition to your drink.

An olive spoon may be used when making a martini.
An olive spoon may be used when making a martini.

There are many different varieties of the olive spoon on the market. A typical spoon is about 8 inches (20.32 cm) in length, and has a rounded spoon head. Materials used include stainless steel, pewter and even wood. You’ll find some olive spoon varieties that have a flatter spoon bowl, which may make it more difficult to get single olives out. Another type looks like a clover bent inward, with slots on the side and bottom, which might contribute to easier grabbing of each olive.

Price on olive spoon types is not that variable. Typically they cost between $7-10 US Dollars (USD), unless you’re purchasing one made of silver. For a long-lasting spoon that will resist being degraded by vinegar, stainless steel is probably the best choice. Wood may be a good second, but requires greater care and handwashing of the spoon to keep it from splintering or splitting.

People may wonder if it’s really worth the storage space of yet another utensil in their already crowded utensil drawer. It is true you can certainly use other things to grab olives, like tongs, other slotted spoons or anything that seems handy. You can also use a standard or soup spoon from your regular flatware set to get olives. You do however, need to drain them of liquid. This can be accomplished by setting the olives on paper towels.

On the other hand, if you’re a huge fan of olives and use them or enjoy eating a few at a time, the olive spoon may be the perfect addition to your lineup of kitchen utensils. The relative inexpensiveness of even quality stainless steel spoons means they won’t break your piggy bank. You can enjoy an olive or two without having to reach into the jar with your fingers, which many olive fans find a considerable advantage. Furthermore, the spoon could be used to grasp small pickled onions, pickled garlic, or maraschino cherries.

Still, if you plan to use a whole jar or can of olives, it can be unnecessarily laborious to fetch each olive out with an olive spoon. Instead, invert the jar or can into a colander so the liquid drains. This process will take a minute or two at most, where with the olive spoon you might spend several minutes getting each olive out of the jar.

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Discussion Comments


I don't think I will spend money for an olive spoon. I don't eat olives all that often to invest in a utensil just for olives. I see how it can be useful but I already have too many kitchen utensils. Chances are, even if I had one, I would forget to use it when the opportunity arose.


@SteamLouis-- Yes there are. I own one. You may have to look around a bit. Most people don't cure or pickle their own olives so I think most places carry ones with shorter handles for this reason. I suggest looking online.

I think that traditionally, olive makers in the Mediterranean used long wooden spoons with a small hole in the center to drain the liquid. But olive spoons today are made of stainless steel and I think they are much better. Wooden spoons tend to hold scents from the food and oil. Steel spoons are easier to clean and you can use it for something else if you need to. I use my olive spoon for pickles too. It works great.


Are there olive spoons with long handles at all?

I'm shopping for one but I need it to have a long handle. The ones I've seen had short or medium sized handles. I cured olives in large jars his year but it's an issue to scoop them out. I don't like that the olives come with a lot of brine and it's difficult and messy to put the brine back.

I try to drain it from the spoon when pulling it out, but bunch of the olives end up falling back. So I definitely need a proper olive spoon. But the jars are kind of large and long, so I need a long handle to avoid getting my hands in there when the olives are towards the bottom of the jar.

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