Olives

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Olives

Postby HazelG » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:04 am

Many years ago in those faraway days of innocence, the first time I saw a "real" olive tree in Israel, I asked the owner if his olive tree produced green or black olives. :idea: I honestly didn't know.

Now, with my own olive tree growing in the garden, I have for many years been bottling olives. Somehow they never quite achieve the right taste, and so I'm asking for advice here.

This is what I usually do:
Score and soak olives for 7 days (changing water each day)
Bottling in saturated salt solution with lots of lemon slices, peppercorns and various combinations of: garlic slices, fresh rosemary, thyme. I can't remember what else I've tried.
Sealing with olive oil and wax paper
Allowing to stand for at least a month.

The olives are small (not those big fat ones) and the family prefers them green because they go soft and mushy when they turn black.

Any ideas would be welcome before this years crop is ready for picking.

Thanks
Hazel
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Re: Olives

Postby Matilda L » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:43 am

Some elderly Italian friends used to make dried black olives. I don't really know what they did; they've been dead for years now and what I remember happened years ago when I was a teenager and not taking much notice. No doubt there was more to it than this, but it always looked to me as if they picked and rinsed the black olives, made a single long cut in each olive, mixed them with coarse salt (about 50:50), and left them to dry in the sun for several days, mixing and turning a couple of times a day. Does anyone else know this technique? The olives were very salty, of course, but delicious eaten with fresh bread and cheese.
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Re: Olives

Postby HazelG » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:51 am

Thanks Matilda

Hope I won't have to resort to the ouija board to ask them :)

Hazel
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Re: Olives

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:44 am

My knowledge of harvesting and preparing olives is largely historical and anecdotal and, considering that fine olives of at least 8 varieties and those done in a dozen different ways are so readily available, I have never bothered to think of even harvesting the olives that grow in the neighborhood.

One anecdote that although of little practical purpose, may amuse. Since the Greek island of Corfu was occuppied by the Venetians in the 15th century, the island hasthe moist dense population of olive trees per acre of any place in the world. All of which is exquisitely beautiful of course. Beyond the beauty, however, sometimes in the 17th century the spirit of Saint Spiridon, the patron saint of the island, appeared to a group of farmers and told them that they should never pick the olives. Nor should they shake the trees or branches but rather should wait until the olives fell to the ground on their own.

Now when Spiridoin speaks, Corfiots listen carefully (after all, although dead for quite a few centuries, Spiridon still works at least two miracles every year). All of which means that come harvest season Corfiots place black nets around all of the olive trees and indeed harvest only when the olives have fallen.

In 1980 a former prime minister, particularly unpopular on the island, purchased several hundred acres of mature olive trees. He also purchased mechanical devices that were capable of shaking the trees to make the olives fall. The bishop of the island and quite a few others told the former prime minister that this would surely harm his olive trees. Being a modern man, however, he decided that this was nothing more than a folk-myth and went ahead and shook the trees. Lo and behold, six months after the harvest some 90% of the olive trees on his property developed root mould and then promptly went on to die. As every islander knows.....don't mess with Saint Spiridon!!!

Moral of the story ... none. But what the heck, its fun to recount.

Best
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Re: Olives

Postby HazelG » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:36 am

Thank you.
That was a very nice story.
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Re: Olives

Postby Richard_S » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:12 pm

Your procedure is quite similar to my "express one", with two differences :
1) if going for the express one, I care making a cut in each olive before starting. I also don't saturate the water with salt but care keeping a dosage of precisely 100 g for 1 liter of water.
2) In the slow method, I don't make the weekly washings but place the olive in salted water (100 g for 1 liter) for 6 months, before giving them a single wash and returning them for two additional months with the other ingredients in a solution of the same concentration...

My 2 cents..

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