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preserving olives

 
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I have two tiny little olive trees that blossomed in early winter and have been growing some beautiful little olives. Two questions:

1. What color should the olives be when I pick them? I've read that a bit of a reddish/dark color means that they are ripe, but I shouldn't let them get to black. Is that about right?

2. Any suggestions for what to do with my olives? I don't really eat them straight up, but I do like olives in various dishes, and I do a ton of cooking with olive oil. Any yummy recipe recommendations?
 
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Hi, I've actually been in Italy for the olive harvest, so can make some pretty educated guesses.

Ripeness: dark-green brown, a touch squishy, but nothing like from the can
(this may have been the variety we were harvesting. to my knowledge though none turn black. that's a part of processing)
They do NOT taste good off of the tree. this is no indication. they are not eaten raw.
They also ripen all at once (ie for harvest we just put fabric down around the tree, picked olives off and let them drop, then gathered the fabric and poured the olives into a tote).

To do: The italians eat them cooked with pasta (surprise!). Alas, I never watched the kitchen closely enough to see if there was some soaking/salting, etc. My Guess is that they are boiled and then added to the dish. They have huge pits that are daintily popped out of the mouth and set aside

Olive oil? I've never seen any home-processing, but I was in a region where there was a huge olive oil factory a short bike ride away.

I'm curious: what region of the country do you live in and what variety of olive are they? I've just never seen olives on a tree in the pacific northwest, YEt.....
 
MJ Solaro
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Ha! Believe it or not, we are in the Seattle area! I know, I was pretty shocked when the trees started producing as well, especially during this time of the year.

Those are great suggestions. We'll give them a try and report back on how things tasted...
 
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You can let them turn black, then harvest and put them into jars with coarse salt and a few whole black peppers. We usually do it this way in Western Anatolia.

Or you can harvest them green, crack them with a stone (or make a cut on each one with a knife), put into a jar with freshwater or saltwater. Also a method used in Western Anatolia and Cyprus.
 
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