Saturday, January 24, 2009

Olive update 1/17/09

The Manzanillas are done. Well pretty much. It's recommended to give them about three weeks, where they actually gain weight in flavor, then hold. Last year, the Sevillanos I put cuts in were particularly dilute watery tasting at this point, but really picked up the richness with some time. Odd. The only change is to a weaker brine solution (half the strength). I'm guessing the higher salt concentration blocks some sort of break down, that the weaker solution allows, up to a certain equilibrium.

The quality of fruit wasn't as good this year. (As I said before, harvest was 85% below normal!) The Sevillanos were mostly just smaller, with a minor degree of imperfections. The Manzanillas were much worse with lots of imperfections. Had to cull a bit before and after curing. Also separated a quart of salvageable ones for personal consumption, where I'll have to cut about half off of. Ended up with 13 pints of good ones.

Another difference is there's a wide range of ripeness levels. There's a small number of black ones, some of which remind me of these salt cured blacks I've gotten at Whole Foods (yummy), others were a bit like kalamatas. The vast majority are purple. Most of those still have that Petite Verdot note, though toned down and integrated with the savoriness. A couple reminded me of some rustic Pinot Noir, with a slight metallic note. Maybe 10% are greyish, firmer and still a bit bitter, with a notable high tone. They do remind me of some commercial ones I've had and ae pretty good. I think a little more time will remove the last of the bitterness in those.

So all-in-all I'm pleased. Happy with the new variety. Happy I got any olives at all from this horrible year. Happy with the quality of both varieties that just shines with minimal handling. They're so good and complete I think trying to enhance them with herbs or whatever would make them worse.

No comments: