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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:03 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Today I picked almost 5kg of (very) ripe black olives :)

We can't for the life of us work out what variety they are- I suspect spanish, definitely not kalamatta as they are round and juicy and almost 5-6g each.

I have had a look around the interweb and there seems to be a gazillion methods and recipes! So far, I have worked out that I will soak them in a salty brine solution that will be changed daily for 1-2 weeks or whenever they are no longer bittter. From then I think I can jar them in oil or spiced brine?

It seems that you need salt that is non-iodised and without caking agents (though the cooking salt I just got has anti-caking agent 535 :aaah! ) to avoid cloudiness as well as unneccesary icky chemicals. So sea salt is the best?

There is also a method for ripe ones where you just hang them in a pillowcase or hessian ssack with lots of salt for a few weeks. The juice drips out.

Anyone tried either of these methods?

Thanks! :th

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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Gallant Game
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I recently was told of how a friend does hers.

Fill container with olives which have been pricked or had cuts made in the skin and add brine to the ratio of 1:20 salt to water. Replace brine every day (every 2 days is OK) for about 10 days then taste an olive. If still bitter, keep changing the brine and test daily until no longer bitter. Then make a brine of 1:10 and pack the olives in the new brine into your storage jars leaving a space at the top which you top up with olive oil so that all the olives are covered. When you want to eat them drain and rinse olives (discarding any discoloured ones from the top) and put in jar with fresh water, some small pieces of lemon, garlic and thyme and chilli if you want and leave for at least 24 hours and for up to about a month. The longer you leave it the less salty they will be but don't use after a month as this last liquid does not preserve them. Yummy.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 12:53 am 
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Great Game
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I would so love to try it, we have about 100 little olive trees starting to produce (and the rabbits destroyed another 250 young trees). But we also have a salinity problem roundabout the area, as most of the country, and there's no way I can dispose of the excess salty water without it (eventually) finding its way to a creek or dam. Don't know what the major processors do.

5kg is a very nice pot-full, we need photos of the process.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:55 am 
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Gallant Game
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Sea salt is full of iodine (and other things). I take any salt and just don't bother about the cloudiness. When they have finished curing I take them out, rinse and put in oil and spices.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:34 am 
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Wise Wyandotte
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PossumCorner wrote:
I would so love to try it, we have about 100 little olive trees starting to produce (and the rabbits destroyed another 250 young trees). But we also have a salinity problem roundabout the area, as most of the country, and there's no way I can dispose of the excess salty water without it (eventually) finding its way to a creek or dam. Don't know what the major processors do.

5kg is a very nice pot-full, we need photos of the process.


Even a few hundred Kg of salt is only a tiny drop in the ocean compared with what is coming up out of the subsoil, so don't let that worry you excessively.

Plan B - there is a Caustic Soda version of the Olive picking recipe you could try, but, personally I'm not that keen on that process.


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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:47 am 
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Great Game
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Last year I bought a salt grinder set up with the pretty pink Himalayan rock salt. Expensive gourmet shop, impulse buy. Looks pretty, and said to be full of all kinds of minerals and goodies.

Then came across it (cheap) in the feedstore in pink two-kilo blocks as a salt/mineral lick so buy it for the sheep and ponies. Often feel tempted to first chip some off and break it up for the salt grinder. (And wonder if the pink Himalayan rock-salt lamps and candle lights are just the same). (And wonder how there can now be any left in the Himalayas).

There's probably a fun gourmet niche for olives processed in pink rock salt, I'll talk myself into giving half a bucket a go but still have the problem of eco-friendly disposal of the salty water.

Edit to add
Just saw yours Andrewschooks. Yes my head tell me that it's a drop in a dam, just feels wrong. Working on commonsense. Re the caustic - yes that give me a feeling of processing food in battery acid, just a head thing again, but not trying it.

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 11:21 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Thanks for your replies!!

Day eight. I ended up dividing up the batch to try different methods. Half went into a calico sack to 'dry cure' with 1kg of course sea salt...I put a slit in each one. You hang it outside and give it a turn every day.

The other half have been just in water that has been changed every second day. Tomorrow I'll start using a weak brine solution and continue to change the water every few days. Then I'll pack them into a stronger brine solution in jars. Pretty much what you recommended guzzigirl :thumbs:

Some of them are discolouring-I'm not sure if it's because they are very ripe or just because they are softening up.

Pictures to follow :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Golden Robin
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We live in a wine and olive growing area and just about everyone has an Olive tree.

Dont go the commercial route by using caustic soda. After a few years of eating salt cured olives I can smell a NaOH cured a long time before it gets close to my mouth and therefore try to avoid them.

Just placing them in ordinary water is not going to cure them properly or quickly. There is a thing called tonicity which I can explain but basically it means that the salt water draws the chemicals that cause the bitterness towards it. The stronger the salt solution (Brine) the better it works.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:47 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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OK- so we have some cured olives!

The air-cured ones were ready first - all nice and crinkly and very (albeit salty) tasty!

I rinsed off the salt and experimented with how long to soak them in cold water to get rid of some of the saltiness. (48 hours was best). I then marinated them in olive oil, orange zest, garlic, rosemary and dried fennel and coriander. Delicious!

I have bottled the rest of the brined olives in a strong brine solution after de-bittering them for a few weeks in a slightly weaker brine solution. They should be ready to try in another month or so....I have a photo somewhere to dig up. :thumbs:

Thanks for the tips too Mike....yes, I read about salt drawing the bitterness out. I've done one last batch dry in salt (with the ones that didn't fit into the jars) and DIDN'T slit each one as I did the first batch, so curious to see how much biterness leaches out of these ones and if it really is worth the effort.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Domestica wrote:
I read about salt drawing the bitterness out. I've done one last batch dry in salt (with the ones that didn't fit into the jars) and DIDN'T slit each one as I did the first batch, so curious to see how much biterness leaches out of these ones and if it really is worth the effort.


I also have half a 20L bucket with olives soaking in brine and I didn't slit or crush the olives. The olives are a black variety and I picked them ripe. It's day seven of brining, with the brine being changed every two days, they are still inedible but they don't make me spit like when I first picked them off the tree (yes I know uncured olives are like this, but I always want a base line before I start the brining).

My brother cured a batch of wild olives the same way last year and then put them in jars with white vinegar, mixed herbs, bay leaf & lemon rind and a layer of oil and they were some of the best olives I’ve had.

Also the vinegar went a deep purple/black and is SOOOOO good with a crusty loaf of bread or used as a simple vinaigrette on a herb salad.

I'll probably add garlic and cayenne chillies to mine along with the vinegar/herbs etc.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:50 am 
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Gallant Game
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You can get non iodised salt without caking agents from health food stores.

Anke

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:43 am 
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Wise Wyandotte
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You can buy a 20Kg bag of salt from the pool shop for less than $10. The big hardware stores sometimes have it even cheaper.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:31 am 
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Golden Robin
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:thumbs: The end result of this thread is that a legion of readers after tasting brine cured Olives will never again enjoy commercial Olives cured in Caustic Soda.

Mike

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Yum!! Great thread. We had a few olives this year but I didn't get to them and the birds (or possums?) ate them first... Inspired to do my own nice olives next year :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:11 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Just a thought but could you evaporate the brine solution in the sun and then collect the salt for other recipes or the next time you do olives? I know this would take awhile but it might apeal to some :)


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