Are olives in their natural state bitter?
And many people do believe that olives from the tree, not cured (unsalted), are 'inedible', and 'too bitter'.
However, I have recently had the good fortune to sample uncured Greek olives. I found them delicious, and sweet (with a wonderfully crunchy texture)! These were ripe olives, air-dried. Unripe raw olives, by all accounts, don't taste good, but neither does any unripe fruit. Raw, uncured olives that are ripe, whether they've ripened on the tree or after falling to the ground, taste quite different. I wonder if the reports of uncured olives being 'inedible' possibly come from the fact that those producing olives pick them unripe?
I've heard there are differences between varieties, and although I find the raw, uncured Peruvian olives currently sold by the online stores palatable, I can't say that I enjoy them nearly as much as the Greek ones - they're less sweet. Although it's not really fair of me to tell you that, as the particular Greek ones I'd tried aren't on sale - yet. (But there's a very good alternative - more later!)
Perhaps the reason some describe raw olives as inedible, and others love them is simply because tastes do vary, as did those of the raw mother and daughter in this account: