Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'08 Olives have arrived

The grower I buy from had their crop devastated this year by frosts and other unseasonable weather. Harvest was about 15% of last year. Got my order in about 45 minutes after their black olives became available. I ordered both Sevillano and Manzanilla. The latter is already sold out.

Black olives are just much riper than green, by about 2 months.

Last year was my first year. I ordered a field run (not sized) of Sevillanos and they were huge! This year they're much smaller. I tried two methods of dry curing and two of brine curing. The dry cured ones are very intense, and I still have plenty. Should try using them as ingredients in dishes... The brine cured were really good. The only difference between those two methods was cutting a slit. The slit would help herbs infuse into the olives, but they were so good I chose not to - I couldn't think of how they could be improved, so why muck with a good thing? The slit also resulted in slightly weaker flavors.

The first step is to keep them submerged in water, changed daily, for ten days. This starts the process of leeching out the bitter glucoside (oleuropein). After that, a couple long sessions in brine. Keeping them submerged prevents spoilage. When done, I put them in jars, add a brine solution plus a little olive oil on the surface. Simple. That's the point where you'd add herbs n such, so I'll taste to see if they need anything. Since I have so much, I may decide to experiment with a few jars.


C.C. said...

Long time ago, I was dating a guy who really enjoyed olives. When he realized that they grew everywhere (parking lots, parks, De Anza Campus) he would pick them and bring them home for me to brine. At one time we had 15 five-gallon buckets around the apartment. Oy.

Wes Barton said...

Now virtually all the neighborhood trees are infested by an olive moth. I did a test batch last year using fruit from the neighbors tree, but they weren't really edible - tons of woody/dusty spots. Hmm... I suppose they'd be fine for olive oil...