You may often see olives designated as 160/180, 400/420, etc. That indicates the range of how many per kilo, in that size. You have to figure out from the context whether the writer is using World measurements or American ones.
The descriptive terms that you will see below were reputedly drawn up in the 1920s by the California advertising firm “Curtis”, which drew on names that were being used to promote movies at the time. The terms for larger olives have a good ring of hype around them — you’d almost think they were describing a circus.
It’s a bit odd that the California olive industry continues resolutely to use their own terms and own measurements rather than standardize, especially because this is certainly one field in which the Americans are greatly outnumbered: California produces less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the world’s olives, so it would make more sense for them to standardize to the rest of the world.
Size descriptions are listed in order from largest to smallest.
|Super Mammoth (aka Super Mamouth)||World||91–100||41–45|
|Mammoth (aka Mamouth)||World||101–110||46–50|
|Mammoth||American||140 to 160||65 to 75||
|Super Colossal||American||60 to 70||32 or fewer||
|26 mm and larger|
|Colossal||American||70 to 90||33 to 41||
|24 mm to 26 mm|
|Giant||American||120 to 140||53 to 64||
|Jumbo||American||90 to 120||42 to 52||
|22 mm to 24 mm|
|Extra Large||American||160 to 200||76 to 90||
|20 mm to 22 mm|
|Large||American||200 to 220 (sic)||91 to 105||
|19 mm to 20 mm|
|Medium||American||240 to 260||106 to 127||
|17 mm to 19 mm|
|Small (aka Select or Standard)||American||280 to 300||128 to 140||
|Less than 17 mm|
|Petite (aka Midget)||American||300 to 400||141 to 180|
|SubPetite||American||400 to 420||181 to 220|
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Liaison, Preparedness and Policy Coordination. Canned or Otherwise Preserved Vegetable Products Other Than Frozen Vegetable Products, Part II, Feb 2000.
- United States Standards for Grades of Green Olives, USDA, September 1967 (32 FR 11467.)
USDA. United States Standards for Grades of Green Olives. 32 FR 11467. September 1967.