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Monday, May 23, 2011

Olive Time

This is my island bench for the next 10 days or so.
Hope you weren't expecting romanticised photos of silky glossy olives in shades from woody magenta to midnight black.
I could have shown you two companions in ponchos, hair slightly lifted by a gentle autumn breeze, their arms lost in silvery foliage as they plucked handfuls of olives at a time and tossed them into little buckets on their wrists.
You would have seen a stunning view of the Tamar river stretched below the companions with bright yellows and autumnal umbers dotting the valley as the sun slanted low, setting northwest as it does this time of year.
Reality Check!
This many olives
(maybe about 10 kilos, not sure, should have weighed them)
will take you
4 hours of washing and slitting
1 paring knife of the finest quality moly/vanadium steel sharpened 4 times
6 pairs of disposable gloves
1 apron
3 glasses of red wine.

The method I use is soak in brine of half cup salt to every ten cups of water changing and replacing this solution every day for 10-12 days till the bitterness is almost gone and then it is ready for the final pack into sterilised jars.
Gavin at The Greening of Gavin has recently done olives too and his less histrionic version is here.
The buckets I use are recycled from a local restaurant and all plastic so there is no salt corrosion.
The plates on top are to keep the olives fully submersed in the brine so they don't go manky.
The final pack will be in recycled glass coffee jars with plastic lids but I notice Gavin uses the clip seal bottles.


  1. only three glasses of wine ?
    You are a brave soul !
    But if you have access to olives it is definately going to be worth the effort in having your own pickled.
    Will you flavour any ?

  2. Gosh you are such a busy person!

    If only I had the tanacity and brain space to do what you do!!!

  3. Thanks so much for the info, I have never successfully managed to get olives to the edible stage-not sure where I go wrong?? Keep us posted on your progress.


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