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.
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