Olive Harvest – Part One

Today was olive harvest.  I have never seen so many olives in my entire life – and we only have one tree !!!!

We have an olive tree in our backyard and each year the fruit has steadily been increasing in quantity.  To understand this, here was last year’s harvest.

Olive Harvest 2010

And, drum roll please…..here is this year’s bumper crop (along with our harvest of avocados).

Olive Harvest 2011

We’ve estimated we probably have got about 30kg of olives of the one tree (maybe more).  It was quite a challenge to pick them.  Following the traditional Greek method of picking, we used a plastic rake and shook the tree so that the olives fell to the ground onto a sheet.  Highly technical stuff !

In the end my partner E, had to get up on the top rung of the ladder as high as he could, to get to the precious ones on the top of the canopy.  At risk of altitude sickness, E had to cut off some of the high branches, as apparently this helps the crop next year and thankfully, made the job of getting the olives from the top of tree much easier.

As you can see from this pic, some of them were huge.

So now the challenge is what to do with them !  I have got prepared and purchased a few big glass jars from Ikea, however we truly have more olives than we can poke a stick at.  Now I’ve seen the harvest, I’ll need to go back and get more !!!

Olives are inedible straight from the tree. I also bought a 10kg bag of sea salt crystals so that we can experiment with different methods of pickling them – in pure salt and in a brine solution.

A big job ahead 🙂

Stayed tuned …

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About Soul Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Soul Kitchen Blog. Sure food ultimately is fuel for the body but made with love is so much more and truly nourishes the soul. As cliche as it sounds, life really is too short to eat bad food and drink bad wine. I have a passion for cooking and a love of good food. I am committed to my quest of searching for fabulous recipes that just so happen to be gluten free. In recent years I discovered that I have intolerance to gluten and whilst its changed my eating habits somewhat, I refuse to allow it to limit my choices to eat well or make those that I cook for feel that they are missing out on anything. My mandate is simple... Feed the body and nourish the soul. I look forward to sharing my journey with you ....
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7 Responses to Olive Harvest – Part One

  1. Wendy says:

    Looks fantastic. I suggest you make some delicious spiced tapenades (maybe E can help you chop them up after he has pitted them)? Jar them up and give them as gifts to close friends – perhaps even send them to friends who live in other states?

    • Hey Wendy, Yes, there is one of my friends from Airlie Beach that I’m sure would be delighted to receive a sample jar ! Thanks for the ideas on what to do with my harvest, along with task delegation suggestion…not so sure that E will like it 🙂

  2. jade says:

    i have cured olives for a few years, last year i did green ones for the first time in lye…then left them for a while in a chilli garlic brine…were absolutely divine. however the black ones were not so great in lye. i do kalamatas in salt mix and are delicous..unfortunately can never get enough off the one tree available to me! make sure all your olives stay under water…i sometimes just use cling wrap to seal..and change water as reguarly as possible. good luck and enjoy, you will never buy olives from a shop again!

    • Hi Jade, thanks for your comment. I am interested to know more. Did you soak them in water, changing it daily for 14 days ? or put them straight into lye ? and what ratio of salt to water did you use ? I’ve pickled them all now anyway, but would be interested to hear more about what you did to get a successful result. You’ve got me excited though, knowing yours turned out divine ! From what I’ve been reading on the net domestic results can be a bit hit and miss. Fingers crossed.

  3. jade says:

    below is the recipe i have used for black olives and they have always come out perfect, i think for the green ones it is 3 tablespoons of lye to five litres of water changing the water dailyfor 3-5 days, you can see the white will turn greenish to the seed when the lye has reached all the way through, then you need to change the water daily for 3-5 days to soak the lye out..you test this by biting into it..if it doesnt taste like soap they are ready. i then put a good inch of good quality apple cider vinegar lots of garlic and chilli and some lemon in the bottom..filled the rest of the jar with the olives and topped up with water then sealed it with a cm or 2 of oil. i also did similar with lime and black pepper….whatever flavour you like really! i found the black ones were best about 2-3 months later and the green ones needed a good week in the brine too! i also have never put a slit in my olives.

    If you’re starting with raw olives, straight from the tree, you’ll
    need to cure them first. A brine cure is the easiest and safest way
    to handle that. Just immerse the fully colored, ripe olives in a
    solution of 8 oz of salt to 1 gallon of water for one week. Change
    the solution to 16 oz salt to a gallon of water and soak for another
    week. Continuing to make up a fresh solution of 16 oz salt to 1
    gallon water each week, soak the olives for 30 to 40 days, checking
    periodicly for bitterness. When the desired taste is reached, remove
    the olives from the brine and rinse them well.

    • Bummer, I’m 10 days into the brine cure method. But will follow the ratio’s you suggest. I hadn’t heard of lye before you mentioned it but wish I knew about this before we picked them. I guess there is always next year….. Thanks for letting me know what you’ve done, Cheers,

  4. Pingback: Olive Harvest – Part Two | Soul Kitchen Blog

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