Last Updated on October 30, 2020
EDITOR’S NOTE: Following our review of these olives, we received an email directly from the supplier of the olives. That email, as well as updated impressions, have been added to the end of this review.
Olives are one of those things you either like or you don’t. My wife is not a fan, but I like them. (Interestingly enough, my daughter likes them, too.) I like them on a supreme pizza or in the right kind of salad, but I also like them as a simple hors d’oeuvre alongside things like cheese and crackers.
Aldi sells black olives in a can. This is not a surprise. Aldi also appears to have tweaked its olives recently, though, because there are now two subtly different olive cans on shelves. This isn’t a surprise either, as we’ve seen Aldi tweak other products, sometimes without even changing the packaging. Sometimes those tweaks are for the better, while other times they are not.
With the olives, there is definitely a clear winner and a clear loser.
First off, it’s worth noting that Tuscan Garden Large Olives are a Regular Buy, which means they’re in stores all the time. At the time of this post, they run $1.19 for a 6-ounce can, or about 20 cents an ounce. That’s about half the cost of the olives sold at our local large inventory grocery store.
Right now, Aldi is selling two slightly different cans of olives in our stores. One of them has a silver lid while the other is a copper color. We believe the copper one is the more recent of the two.
The cans are different in several other ways. The silver lid is listed as non-GMO certified on the outside, while the copper lid is not. The silver lid has a metal-colored interior while the copper lid has a white interior. The silver lid does not does not give a country of origin, which means it’s from the United States, while the copper label olives are a product of Greece. Nutritionally, the silver lid olives have 5mg more sodium and 1 gram of carbs.
This is all fine and good, but what about taste? Do they taste any different?
Yes. Yes, they do.
The silver lid olives have a thin skin that breaks easier in the mouth. They also have a lot of flavor, punctuated by a generous saltiness.
The copper lid olives, by contrast, are tougher, requiring more bite to chew into the softer middle. They’re also less salty and have generally less flavor overall.
In our home, the silver lid olives are the clear winner. The problem is that the copper lid olives appear to be the newcomer, with the silver lid olives on the way out. That’s too bad, because we thought the older model was clearly the better of the two.
While the two different versions of Tuscan Garden olives look mostly the same on the outside, they have different tastes and textures. We prefer the older silver lid olives to the newer copper lid ones ourselves. The copper lid ones are palatable, but we think they’re inferior. In our view, if you have a choice, look for the silver lid, at least while you can.
UPDATE (October 2020): Following our publication of this review, we received this email.
I am writing you about your review of the Tuscan Garden Ripe olive products at ALDI on your ALDI reviewer website, written in August 2020. I sent another message through your other site as well, so I apologize if this is being received twice.
We are the supplier if the item you did not enjoy.
Specifically, I’m reaching out because I believe you may have gotten one of the first loads that arrived to ALDI of this new item from Greek olives, which were a bit lower in salt. Since this point, the item has been adjusted accordingly and I believe it will better align with your taste preferences and hopefully perform well in a side by side sampling. If you would please give the item another opportunity to re-review, we would greatly appreciate (we can send you a new jar or you can find in stores for all expiry dates AFTER 05/10/2023). I doubt they’ll be such a clear winner this time around.
We decided to take up the challenge. (On our own dime, I should add.) We found a can with an expiration date after June of 2023.
We’re pleased to report that these olives are improved. They taste a little saltier, have a better texture, and are just better overall. It’s hard to accurately compare them to the silver can olives without tasting them again side-by-side, but we can at least report that the copper lid olives appear to have been tweaked to be better than they were before.
Thank you so much for this! I knew something was wrong with the last few cans I had purchased. I will be returning the less-than-awesome ones.
Thanks for the article about olives. Very helpful.
Thanks for clearing up the mystery. We wondered why the last batch of olives we bought was bad. Checked the label and they are the ones from Greece. They are HORRIBLE and have about as much flavor as a piece of notebook paper. Back they go and we will be careful on the next purchase.
…no more Aldi black olives for this family… The taste horrible!
Over the past year or more we’ve tried the Tuscan black olives several times hoping the toughness would disappear, but it hasn’t. Just opened a new can bought in Cocoa, FL, and they are the toughest black olives I’ve ever had. I don’t like lots of salt on things, but they are also a bit bland (I don’t think it’s because of a lack of salt). It’s too bad considering all the other great things we regularly buy in the store (including other Tuscan products). Oh, well… if that’s the worst of my First-World problems, I’m probably doing alright.
I read the can of black olives about once a month to see if the others are back. If it says “Product of Greece”, just say no.
I bought them yesterday and they’re terrible. I’m a black olive lover and there’s something wrong with these. Not mushy just bad taste. Could it be the preservatives or the tin can?
I agree with Brig. I googled this because after today I said I’m never buying all of some all the again because the flavor is really really weird. Not good. It’s so weird I decided to just Google it quick see if there were others that thought the same thing.
I was talk typing and I meant to say I’m never buying Aldi black olives ever again Because of the very weird flavor.
I just wanted to point out that sometimes the cans can roll around during shipping and handling. If this is done agressively, this can wear off the plastic-looking lining inside the can, allowing the brine to touch the metal while it sits on the store shelves.
If this has happened to your can, you will notice that the grooves on the inside of the can pointing inwards are no longer white, and there may be a blotchy patina to the white areas.
This, in turn, leeches a nasty metalic flavor and smell into the brine. If the cans are aluminum, this should be reasonably harmless. In any case, the can’s metal is magnetic, so I’m guessing you can put a magnet into a clean plastic bag and swish it around in the brine to collect a lot of the metal.
I do not believe Aldi corporate is currently aware of this problem with their supply chain, so OP, please reach out to corporate if the email they gave you isn’t no-reply.
I just did the magnet test. Sure enough, there’s a fine black powder sticking to the magnet and not any other part of the bag. Wiping it off on a paper towel, you can see a clear black pattern the shape of the magnet. The brine just soaks into the paper towel, leaving a damp spot.
Does anyone know what the white coating on the inside of the can is meant to protect the consumer from? I’d imagine it’s just the aforementioned unpleasant metallic taste and aroma. It’s not like they’d use a toxic metal to make food cans.
Still, it would be nice to get confirmation if anyone knows how to determine what material a can is made from?
For those wondering, my can’s lid is silver and the best-by date isn’t until 2025.
Product of Egypt
I looked it up. Aluminum isn’t magnetic. Which means it’s probably tin-coated steel, both of which are safe enough to make frying pans out of.
So it’s probably fine. Discard (or magnetically trawl, lol) the brine, rinse your olives, and add a pinch of salt.
Hope they fix this soon. When the lining survives, these olives are fantastic, with a salty and slightly boozy flavor. Try pairing it with beer bratwurst on pizza. It’s a flavor explosion!
If your lining is white,
that can is all right!
If your lining’s a mess,
it might not taste fresh.
Okay, really gonna stop now, I have other things to do today.