In a July blog post I explained that a few of us, whole working at Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG), picked black Kalamata olives when we volunteered in the Food Garden. In that earlier blog post I showed a couple of photos of the olives which had been marinated two years previously by our Coordinator Adam; he let us taste them and they were the most luxurious wonderful things I had ever enjoyed. Here is a photo to remind you what his olives looked like in their home of Virgin Olive Oil.That day I was offered the chance to bring home a few olives to try two different techniques for preparing them to eat. Do you remember reading about that: one was to soak the picked olives in brine and the other was to dry salt the fruit and hang in a muslin bag? If not, then I urge you to pore back over old blog posts and read the instructions and see the photographs of the step by step process.
The following photo shows how the olives looked when I brought them home that day, before I started the marinating process.
After six weeks passed, recently I decided it was time to rinse the salt from both styles then store in oil. I took photos as I undertook the process – but accidentally deleted those relating to the cleansing of those olives which had been through the brined technique. But I can tell you it was a frustrating process. Over two days I soaked and rinsed and soaked and rinsed those olives to try and remove the salt. Every time I bit into one, the salt content was extreme. The fruit had shrivelled somewhat as the natural bitterness had been released; but the salt had permeated the soul of the fruit and made them almost inedible. Regardless, I poured them into a sealable glass jar and covered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I labelled them not to be open for two years and have stored them under my house, out of sight. Perhaps mellowing will occur over time.
The other small collection that was hung in a muslin bag has fared differently and offers my best hope to achieve great tasting olives in two years. I emptied the ‘sack’ and rinsed off the salt that had begun to crust the bag but not the olives.
Meanwhile I found the olives were excessively shrivelled (compared to their brined cousins) and almost dry.
This time when I bit into the leathery skin I did not get the taste of an overload of salt, simply that there wasn’t much there except concentrated olive without bitterness. After minimal rinsing,
I poured them into a sealable glass jar and covered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
As with the brined olives, I labelled these not to be open for two years and have stored them under my house also out of sight. I have high hopes for the oil to plump out the olives to create a mushiness that will be soft and delectable. Only time will tell. This was always an experiment for me; albeit a tiny test. I feel sure this month in 2021 will arrive quickly.