In the center of our front yard hovers a multi-trunked matured olive tree. The olives began to drop in the early part of fall which gave me the impression that the tree only produced green olives. Being a Kalamata and a Colossal Black Olives advocate, it was much to my delightful surprise when I researched the matter and found out that black olives are borne from green ones.
Nevertheless, I began to pick the green olives mainly out of impatience and excitement to being the curing process (figuring I would make my mistakes on the greens and perfect them with the blacks).
Picking was a ton of fun, as Will and I placed a blanket on the grass beneath the tree and engaged in a series of shaking branches, smacking with ends of broomsticks, climbing up on the limbs and hand-picking a TON of olives to fill a very large bucket.
We decided to water-cure this round. First, we scoured the olives for any insect-ridden holes and tossed those out. Next, we sliced each and every olive with a knife lengthwise to allow for the bitterness to escape and immediately placed each olive into a bucket filled with water to prevent from browning. The olives need to be completely submerged in the water to prevent oxidation. We then placed the bucket in the refrigerator.
I changed the water daily for almost a month. This apparently helps clean the olives and lessen the bitterness level. I really should have waited for the full month, but when I tried the taste of the water content it was to my liking so I packed them just 4 days shy of the month date.
So 26 days after picking, I packed the olives in jars with various ingredients and topped it off with salt water. Some ingredients I used were citrus rinds, sage, oregano, rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, coriander, black pepper, garlic, sumac, hot pepper, chili powder, fruit seasoning, mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar. Here we mixed and matched each jar with different combinations. This process was so much fun that it dawned on us that we could even use a tea for added flavoring. The tea that immediately came to our minds was Lapsang Souchong which would marinate the olives with a smokey flavor.
Each of us packed our own jar. Mine contained Lapsang Souchong, lemon, bay leaves, coriander, and black pepper. Will tried Lapsang Souchong with haleppo pepper, sumac, lime, white balsamic vinegar and garlic. We are now in the process of refrigerating the curing jars for a couple of days and anxiously awaiting the results.
Stay tuned for the taste test!