Early days in this year’s olive production

Once again I have been blessed with the gift of a windfall of early season ripe olives.

Long term blog followers may remember my experiments with brining and salting fresh olives over time. You can read past reports here and here, for example. If you conduct a search on www.tasmaniandiscoveries.com using the word ‘olive’, many more blog posts can be found on this topic, if you want to read more.

Today, with a new crop, I have removed stray stalks, unwanted leaves, and dusty dirt from a pile of freshly collected olives (from the ground), and poured them into a cotton pillow case. 

Then I have emptied a huge quantity of salt into the bag, and tied off the bag so spiders and other creepy crawlies won’t be able to find their way in.

Now the bag hangs below where there is good airflow – the thought of moulding olives is not appealing!

In my calendar I have scheduled a massage for the bag each week to ensure the salt mixes liberally through the olives and doesn’t settle at the bottom of the bag. The idea is for the salt to extract excess moisture from the olives, along with any bitterness. Eventually, I expect a moist salt encrustation will form on the outside of the pillow case. When I see that in a few weeks’ time, I will be confident the process is working.

After six weeks, I will empty the bag and rinse, rinse and rinse again all the olives to remove salt. In addition, I will leave them in a basin of still water for at least a few hours if not overnight to further encourage excess salt to dissipate. By this time they will have shrunk a little from loss of fluid and won’t be particularly attractive.

Only once those processes are complete, will I store the olives by covering them in olive oil in air-tight glass jars. These will become my latest experiment in two year preserved olives. Those prepared in 2019 are due for tasting later this year in August. The story will continue!

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