Don't get me wrong, I have been excited since I saw the 3 olive trees on the grounds of our new home. Visions of bottles of olive oil and olives in my pantry filled my mind. It has been quite exciting these past few months, watching the olives getting color. First green, then a slight blush, then reddish, maroon and finally a deep almost grape color. I research how to preserve olives and produce olive oil. Now, reality hits! Instant gratification is out of the question. A ready to eat olive takes a minimum of 2-3 months, maybe longer depending on what method you use. Hence, my love hate relationship with my olive trees. At the end of the long wait, I may have a batch of bad tasting olives.
After much research, I settled on processing my olives following the methods listed by UC Davies. They list water, brine and lye cure olives. I have not been able to make myself use lye in curing the olives. My preference has been to water treat the olives followed by brine curing. The olives are slit to help release the bitter oleuropein. I was to change the water daily for 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks, they were still a bit bitter for my taste and turn a pale green, even those that started out reddish brown. I ended changing water daily for 5 weeks. I finished the cure by bottling them in a brine solution. I have found the finished olives to be too salty for my taste. Hence, I continue my experiments. In my kitchen you will find containers filled with olives in various stages of curing and different brine strengths. I look at this year as a year to experiment and learn.
|Ripe green and red brown olives|
|First batch of green ripe olives|
|Rinsing water cure olives|
|Water curing olives - colors fade|
|Water cure olives submerged in fresh water|
|Water cured olives after 3 weeks|
|3 bottles of water cured olives in finishing brine|
|second stage of experiment - brine curing olives|
|Brine curing olives|
|Deeper colored olives|
|Almost black colored olives|
|Wish it was a juicy cherry!|
|Or maybe a grape|
|Wash and drain olives|
|Submerged in water, changing daily|
|Must not pick them!|
|A huge batch of water cured olives I had to throw away :(|
|My ever growing batches of olives|
Truthfully, there is still much olives still ripening on the trees that I might succumb to their siren call. Hopefully, I will get some good eating out of some of them at least. Next year.....olive oil?