We’re surrounded by several dozen olive trees so we’re having a go at preserving them (a jar from the supermarket costs €2.50). The trees aren’t being harvested for olive oil this year as they’re biennial-bearing trees – a big crop one year, a small one the next. Despite there being tons of olives, this is the small crop year.
Olives are great, especially when marinated in herbs, garlic or chilli. They’re also really good for you, reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. They have Vitamin E which helps reduce blood pressure.
Freshly-picked olives have a bitter taste and the process of preserving them is mainly to remove this. Before preserving, the green olives are hard whereas the black olives are already slightly soft. They all plump up a bit during the process.
There are lots of recipes online and this is a hybrid that has worked for us. Over time we’ll figure out the optimum de-bittering times and the best herbs and spices to add.
- Pick your olives – either from the tree or the ground (green, black or a mixture)
- Prick each with a fork
- Soak in a salt/water solution – 1 part salt to 10 parts water – for 24 hours
- Soak in fresh water in a ceramic or glass (but not metal) container for 10 to 12 days, changing the water daily
- Bite into an olive and if still too bitter, continue to soak
- Put the olives into a jar (we’ve used old jars from shop-bought olives) covering with a brine solution with a few herbs, lemon, garlic, chilli – whatever you fancy
- Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to seal
When you want to eat them the recommendation is to soak them overnight in fresh water to get rid of the saltiness. We think they taste fine after just a few days of being jarred but maybe in a few months we’ll have to do this.
© con jamón spain