For the first time in seven years, my olive tree is loaded with olives! My enthusiasm has turned into motivation, with full intent to process my crop.
Every olive starts off green in color then graduates to purple before finally turning to black. So I waited until the harvest was half green and half black before picking them off the tree.
Unlike other fruit, olives straight off the tree are hard as rocks and extremely bitter, which helps explain why they’ve stood the test of time. Oleuropin is what gives olives their bitter taste. To eliminate and transform the bitterness into deliciousness, you have to cure them. Olive culture dates back 8,000 years, and with that kind of lead time you can imagine the hundreds of thousands of recipes for brining. After all of my research my big plan is to wait.
My game plan: pick olives, soak in water for four weeks (changing water daily), place rinsed olives in canning jars, make a permanent brining solution, pour over olives, add herbs like bay leaf, thyme, coriander and garlic, then seal jars and store in the garage. And wait.
If I’m lucky, I’ll be savoring my homegrown olives in a few months.