Olive harvest update

in Plant Power (Vegan)3 months ago (edited)

Air fermented olives

This post could fit into few different communities. I decided to publish it in the #PlantPower community as another way to show my support to this growing initiative.

Last year was a record year in terms of yield of olives in our region. the amount of olives was so huge that the oil presses were collapsing under the pressure. many had to wait in cues of cars for hours before they could deliver their olives and some technical issues made things even worse.
what made things even worse is the fact that many people move to live in our region, mainly from other European countries, buying abandoned orchards. which means every years, more olives are picked and more need processing while there are no new olive oil presses being added.

This year is a "weak" year in terms of yield but, on my land, I have been blessed with a generous amount.
initially, I was not going to pick any olives for oil this year. I still have lots of oil from last year and could use the time for other tasks.
eventually I picked just under 200 Kgs. and made just over 17L. of fresh oil. (our oil is pressed locally, in cold and is 0.3 PH which means it is extra virgin).

olives in coarse salt

The olives I pick for eating I normally process in 3 simple ways.

1 - Air fermented olives:

these are stored in jars without water nor salt.
they ferment in gases that they them selves liberate in a period of between 2 or 3 months.
they maintain almost the original texture of a fresh olive. the taste is somewhat peculiar and not everyone likes this technique for this reason.
It is the easiest way I am aware of to prepare and conserve olives.
they can last in such a jar for years !

2 - Olives in Coarse Salt:

for these olives, I choose more mature fruit and preferably bigger.
they are placed in a cotton bag (an old T-shirt works too). and are mixed with the salt and hung where air can freely circulate around it.
every few days I open the bag, move the olives around and add some salt if necessary.
the salt does two things: it absorbs bitter liquids off the olives and penetrates them for taste.
in this technique, timing is crucial.
depending on the weather, the whole process can take as little as 3 weeks. if the olives are left too long, they may dry up too much.
I love taking them out when they are still fat and juicy.
if done properly, they do not last long. I just can not stop eating them !
this is by far my (and my son´s) favorite recipe.

Olives in salt water

3 - Olives in salt water:

This technique requires more work but the olives can be conserved for years.
I use green olives, the most immature for that.
they are placed in a bucket in salt water which I change for 7 days.
after this 7 days they are placed in salt water and will takes at least 3 months before they can be consumed.
the concentration of salt is crucial.
I use 1 flat spoon of coarse salt for every cup of water.
or about 4 - 5 spoons per liter of water.
you will first need to measure how much water is needed to get your olives submerged.
this concentration is used for both the 7 day washing and the conservation.
It is better to have your olives less salty then too salty.
even though, too salty olives can be later corrected by correcting the salt concentration.
the bucket you use for this technique needs to have a cover. and if it is a hermetic one, it is better.
some olive oil on top of the water can help so no molde develops.
some molde on top is normal. just use a strainer to fish olives ones they are ready to be consumed.

I hope you find the above information useful.
please feel free to reach out if you have any doubts or comments.

If you enjoyed this post please upvote and reHive.
thank you for stopping by.



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I love olives, where I live I can only consume the ones that come in jars, since they are not produced here, as for the oil it is not one of my favorites, I loved to know the different preservation techniques you use, and how easy you make the process look. You are really lucky to have this fresh product, to be able to process it and preserve it.

I am glad to hear you like these techniques and they really are easy and simple.
as for the luck.. just like you do not believe in Perdon, I do not really believe in luck. I chose to live that way surrounded with fruit trees and ever growing natural abundance.
donde es que estas ? no sé si podria vivir sin olivas ya que fui nacido y criado a orilla del Mediterraneo.

It is a wonderful decision!!! I live in Venezuela, border with Colombia!!!!

this is a part of the world I would love to explore one day !

This post looks great @bigorna1, and we thank you for choosing Plant Power (Vegan) to publish it, as we always count on your support.

I thought it was great the simple way you explain the preservation of olives, I was particularly unaware of the first technique, the empty jars.

In my country there is a variety of olive trees, but they do not really bear olives, but a small red fruit that I think is not edible, in fact, I had a big tree in my back garden, but I had to cut it down because it got sick, its trunk hollowed out and there was a risk that it would collapse on top of the house.

I think it's great that people buy and make the land productive, as long as they are respectful of the laws and people of your country, and fundamentally, that they respect Mother Earth. If olive production increases, then more olive presses would be needed to extract oil, and that would mean more jobs. I hope that the migrants who come to your region are good, respectful, hardworking and educated people.

An excellent post, which I will keep. A hug.

Thank you for your kind words.
we already have a community project for another olive oil press in our region in the making, for the moment awaiting help with funding.
I will update.

How interesting this! I wish you the best of success.

One question, what is the cost per hectare of land in your region? What part of Portugal do you live in?

I am in the Idanha-a-Nova region in Castelo Branco province, near the Spanish border.
the price of an hectare varies and depends of factors like water availability, fruit trees, cork oaks, buildings etc.
price has gone up considerably since Portugal became a popular alternative for many.
I bought my land over 5 years ago and I am not really into this market right now.
I do know that for people who come from expensive countries (like the U.K. Holland, Germany etc.) it is still relatively cheap.
I hope that helps.

Very interesting. I was looking for different techniques and here I found them. Two questions for now:

if I go for the olives only option, is it suggestable to add some olive oil or would that oil just sink to the bottom anyway?

*If I go for the cotton bag option, do I need very clean bag for that or does the salt compensate for lack of cleanliness? I have cotton bags but I use them for grocery shopping and might need to wash and dry them first before adding olives and salt :<)

Muito obrigado e um abraço

P.S. I am also curious about the amount of olive trees on your land. I guess there might be 50 to a 100 with such a harvest in a dry year.

Hi Vincent,
I suppose you could add some olive oil. it will naturally go to the bottom but it might have some effect on the fermentation. maybe the taste too. you could try that in one jar and see what you get. I never tried doing that.

for the cotton bag, I normally use an old T-shirt that I clean once I am done with it and keep for the following season. salt kills pretty much anything. I would not worry about having it all that clean.

and yes, just over 100 trees. I never actually harvest them all. too many to handle ; ) good problems.

I have few olives, only got a handful of trees here and picked just a big one, was late for the harvest due to extra time spent in The Netherlands and many olives were either half eaten or there were insect(s) holes inside.

100 trees is an awesome amount. A good problem indeed ;<)

I am gonna try all three techniques, including topping off a jar or two with olive oil ( both one with salt and warer and a plain one ).

Cheers for your advice!

And last but not least. Where do you hang that old T-shirt? I don't have many open windows, inside of my house, due to insects and it's raining loads these days :>)

I hang it under an outside roof, so it does not get rained on and it can breath. fresh outdoor air.

Okay. I'll think of a way, I don't really have the right type of roof for that and the wind blows the rain against the house on rainy days. A challenge but I like challenges.



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Can I visit you to buy some olive oil? 🤣 Here in Venezuela it´s quite expensive, I don't really buy it now, but I like it so much!

Recently I´ve been learning about conservation methods, so your post quickly captured my attention. Thanks for sharing!

I am happy to hear this post is helpful, that was the idea.
you can come anytime ! there is plenty of space and plenty of work for many.
I´d actually like to exchange and one day visit Venezuela ! maybe bringing a suitcase full of olive oil ; )

That would be awesome! You say plenty of work and it sounds like a good plan haha.

Here in Venezuela, there are so many beautiful places to see, and with our climate, it can be any time of the year!

I see you have some posts in both English and Spanish.
I have been intending to try and do this too in order to also get to Spanish speakers.
could you orient me on how this is done ? is that using an app..? gracias !


Si te resulta mas facil, hablo Español ; )

Buahnya sangat bagus

Yes, it is. thank you.

Wow, finally!!

Great to hear your olives harvest are still above average right now. Quite interested in your preservation methods as I am just familiar with olive oils, but we only use it during birthdays with the charcuterie board or in my soap recipe.

I read somewhere that grapes and olives don't taste the same even if of the same variety. Haven't tried raw/preserved olives yet and I'm curious, how does it taste?

A fresh olive right off the tree is very bitter.
you can make oil out of it or process it so it can be consumed.

Sometimes they work for me, sometimes not. Bookmarking foe olive harvest next year.

You got olive trees ?

I do. They aren't all good for pickling as when we planted them I didn't know much about olive trees, but I have a couple that are worth doing. And there's tons in my area that people often give away.

This is an interesting and informative piece for me, thanks for sharing 🙂🙂..

You have such a detailed post write up here on olive. Though personally I haven't seen an olive tree , because we don't plant or cultivate them within my region. But only get well familiar with an olive oil. Getting seen such a well detailed post about olive , truly here I wish to have a hand feel of some fresh olive. Thank for sharing.

Sadly the UK climate does not allow for olive growth. With yhe cost of everything rising the idea of having oil from your own olives is very appealing.
Maybe you should consider selling some to fellow Hivians, I'm sure post and packaging costs would be worth paying for such a product.

I do occasionally sell oil. but posting charges will make the price ridiculous. and a headache.
part of living on the land, providing my own food is to break away of such necessities.
since I do not have to buy many things, I live very very cheaply which saves me having to worry about selling for extra income. my time is then spent on what I like doing.