Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Preserving olives and climbing trees! - Part 1

I think I deserve an award this week!  Even with a bung knee, I have been climbing our olive tree to gather the harvest. Well, not the tree itself but a ladder.  Foolishly, I did not trim the tree last year, so it has gone mad with branches everywhere and up high.  For only the second time in many years, the tree has flowered AND fruited, much to my delight and slight trepidation.  The last time was several years ago when I ended up with a tiny crop, which I preserved and bravely I thought, gave some to our neighbour's mum who is Italian and does her own each year.  Thank goodness, she said mine were probably a bit better than hers.  Crazily, I don't seem to have taken any photos or written down what I did to preserve them so this year it is a big guess.  I have checked out some ideas online,  but they sound really complicated, and I think my own "recipe" was a helluva lot simpler.  So here I am giving it a go.  We will all find out in a few weeks whether I have done the right thing or not.
I have close to a kilo of fruit this year, so I am really praying they turn out well.


you can just see a few fruit up there:) 

getting ready to gather the harvest 

friend Andrew getting the high ones for me 

making small slashes in each one 

ready to salt them

about to (as)sault my olives

making up the brine 

stirring the salt and water together to make brine 

pouring in the brine  


ready to sit for the next 2 weeks or so to mature 


Ok, so what I ended up doing was adding a mix in a ratio of about 1 tbs of salt to 1 cup of water till I had enough brine to cover the olives.  This jar holds about a kilo, and I added just over 3 cups of brine to it, till all the fruit was covered.  I had around 850g. of olives after sorting them.  And yes I used a mix of green and ripe olives.  This is what I did last time and it seemed to work out fine.  I just picked every single little baby I could see on that tree and plonked it in the briny jar.  I have slashed each fruity treasure a couple of times to allow the brine to go in, and the nasty stuff to come out.  I will be changing the brine every day for at least 2 weeks, maybe more depending how it goes.  And then I will marinate them in olive oil (not home-pressed unfortunately).  I used 2 different salts simply because I have masses of them in the pantry at the moment.  I am a bit of a mad obsessive when it comes to salt and olive oils, and end up with scads of packets and bottles.  Tune in again soon for an update on the olive story!


12 comments:

  1. Good on you Sherry:) In our old garden we had a couple of olive trees and I in 10 years I never harvested them:( Some how they would disappear before I got to harvesting them - then like you the trees got too big! In our new garden I am going to plant a controllable olive tree!

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    1. Good plan Rachel. Essential to trim them each year ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. It is so nice having your own olives. I just hope they turn out well this year. Fingers crossed.

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  2. Yes it's fun picking and preserving them. I did it at Tony's. He gets lots off his tree.

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    1. it is very exciting to make your own, isn't it?

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  3. Thank Sherry! My friend's father in law preserves olives. They've got such a great texture to them!

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    1. It's fun but a bit scary. I just hope they turn out ok.

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  4. I have seen a special tool in Italy for getting the olives off hard to reach trees, maybe you need one of those? Good luck with the harvest and brining :)

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    1. Hi Tandy
      Yes my hubby's aunt used to have this fab tool for getting mangoes from the high branches; must be the same thing?:). Hoping they turn out ok!

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  5. Good luck with the olives. I wouldn't know where to start with preserving them!

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    1. yes it is a bit of a mystery as everyone has their own method!

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  6. Let us know how they turn out! You're so brave preparing your own olives.

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    1. oh thank you. i really hope they are ok. they could so easily go mouldy or revolting. we shall see!

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