Yesterday you read about the picking of the Kalamata olives at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, and that I brought some home to prepare for eating.
I decided to try both methods recommended by Food Garden Coordinator Adam, in order to compare the results and determine which style I prefer. Last year, in my own garden I planted different eating varieties of olives (two varieties of olea europaea: Correggiola and Koroneiki ) which will eventually produce crops. When that happens I hope to be armed with the knowledge about how to prepare them for happy eating experiences.
Last night I started with a small bowl of freshly picked olives and removed all stalks and accidental leaves.I halved the quantity in preparation to use the two methods.
For method one I placed a quantity of olives in a glass container, then added salt liberally and water. Should I have used rock salt I now wonder? Surely cooking salt will do the job? With only the latter to hand, that is what I used. I realised I did not know how much water to use. My olives are floating and I suspect it might be better if I use less water when I change the solution in one week’s time. I am certain no harm done; regardless I will learn from this.
I don’t know what type of environment they need during the process. For the moment they are stored in my dark cold laundry room. Each week for the next 6 weeks I must renew the brine solution. At the end of the time they can be stored in a brine solution. Although I am inclined already to divert from the method and, at that stage, to store half in brine and half in oil. After all, this is an experiment to find the method that will give me the olives I prefer most for eating.
Then I moved onto the second method for preparing olives. I poured the salt into the remaining quantity and massaged them all.This mix in turn was poured into a muslin bag (which I just happened to have – remembering no reason for owning it).I made sure the olives were surrounded by salt and tied the bag.The bag of olives are now hanging under my house and I won’t be disturbing it for another 6 weeks. I will keep you posted on developments. Only at the end of the 6 weeks will I remove the bag and seriously wash and rinse off the salt before storing in olive oil.
On a completely different note, the benefits of volunteering at the RTBG includes access to otherwise unknown information. A couple of weeks ago I was informed that the University of Tasmania offers a gardening course. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to learn more from the comfort of online at home. Last week I enrolled in the fee-free Science of Gardening (part of a Diploma of Sustainability – which I am not interested in completing)and this Monday past I started working through Module 1. My first impression is that the Unit offers a level of detail that I wasn’t looking for, and with specialist quizzes and assignments to come I realise that I may need to apply myself with an energy for which I wasn’t prepared. Of course, I will persevere in order to gather information which seems relevant to me and will keep you posted on progress. I am impressed by the credentials of the staff who are offering the course and letting me hear their voices, knowledge and experiences though topical and current videos within the course. At the conclusion of this course around September, Science of Gardening 2 will commence if I am interested. First let me see how I travel with the current Unit before I make a commitment for the second. For readers of this blog who are interested in gardening maybe this fully online Unit may attract your attention.