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  • Processing fresh olives

    This is certainly open to anyone with some insight but I believe I recall Ben_in_NoFLA having olive trees....

    I've harvested my share of olives..... I still make all my olive oil when I go back to Italy .... I used to process olives for fresh eating long ago but haven't for a long time... I now have access to some beautiful fresh Cerignola olives (my favorite to eat fresh) and recently tried processing the way I remember doing when I was a kid. That's cracking and placing in water and changing the water every day until the bitterness is gone..... For reasons I don't understand, the olives are developing dark brown blotches and not looking good at all. I've had these in water for maybe 15 days and they look like this and are still bitter.

    Anyone have experience with this? My Sicilian peeps just make oil.... My famiglia in Calabria say they're doing what I am and it's working fine for them. SO I don't know what's turning them brown and why they're staying bitter after so long in water.... They are still very firm...even when brown....

    Thoughts?

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    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

  • #2
    Ahh memories. I haven't tried it and it's been a long time since my patents have done it. One thing that jumps out at me is that your olives don't look as "opened up" as ours were when soaking. And what are temps like where you're keeping your jar? Ours were soaked down in the dark, cool basement in a crock. Also, the crock had a weight to keep the olives submerged, but never a cover.

    I don't know how important these to factors are, it's just how I remember it being done. I have not had access to fresh olives, but if I did I would definitely give it a try!

    We used to crack them by giving them a good whack with a stone to actually crack them open. We had to learn to hit it hard enough for it to actually gape open and reveal the pit just a bit, but not so hard that the Olive fell into two pieces. Those of us kids who got it wrong one too many times weren't allowed to help any more because too many olives were being "ruined."
    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
    – Chinese Proverb
    MA 5b/6a

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    • #3
      The olives are submerged but this test batch is in a clear glass cookie jar with a loose glass lid on it. Each olive is sliced end to end with a knife. I thought cracking with a wine bottle too extreme.....maybe not if they’re still bitter...

      it’s sitting on my kitchen counter. Perhaps the next trial needs to be in a dark crock in the basement? They were all that beautiful pale green when they went into the water

      For now they don’t seem bad... they’re still firm and have that fresh olive butter taste. Just the colour seems off....
      Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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      • #4
        While it may be too late for this year, take a look at this recipe I just came across for next year's olive adventures. I checked with mom and this is pretty much how she was taught to do it. I'm going to keep an eye out for fresh green olives next year and give it a try.

        http://www.anitaliancanadianlife.ca/...cracked-olives
        “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
        – Chinese Proverb
        MA 5b/6a

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        • #5
          My only experiences from way back are with grapes, peaches and grandma's almond candy, which I try to make.to.this day but not as good as hers. She could stir it for ever without getting tired and that's what it took. We loved olives, but relied on others in the neighborhood for them and we brought wine to the table.
          ​​
          Tony. Pickens county, SC zone 7b
          WL: Angelo's Dark: Azores Dark; Brooklyn White/Dk; Florea; Golden Riverside; Lattarula; LSU Early Improved Celeste;any of the Maltese or Italians; Napolitana: Tiger Panache

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          • #6
            This is the recipe I used that Ben posted. It talks about keeping them submerged with a bag a water on top. Also says keep in a cool, dark place.Maybe the exposure to air is causing them to discolor.
            http://www.earthy.com/Water-cured-Gr...-Delights.aspx
            Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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            • #7
              Joe - is it possible that you need to change out the water regularly?
              GA 7b

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              • #8
                I was changing the water daily however I used only water without salt. I’m assuming the lack of bribe is where I went wrong. Thanks for this ginamcd . I’ll be bookmarking this for next time
                Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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                • #9
                  A nice write up on curing olives:
                  https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...H14QPo1D9vQLuY

                  Google 'Olive Curing' for additional info.
                  Johnson1
                  Zone 9b
                  S of Tampa Bay, FL

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                  • #10
                    Incidentally, I lost that entire batch of olives. I hang my head in shame. I'm useless with olives when I don't have my peeps around....


                    Oh, oh, oh! I recently got a little gift from some friends over 4200 KM away! Check this out... I tried it tonight for the first time. It's very different... and outstanding! Look where it's from....

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                    Clearly, with enough will and stubbornness... anything is possible!
                    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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                    • #11
                      Hi Joe — I'm sorry to hear you lost your batch of olives. I know that curing them successfully can be a challenge. My Calabrian partner and I are going to plant an olive tree in our backyard this year (in Los Angeles), with the intention of harvesting and processing the olives for eating. We're thinking about a Castelvetrano olive tree. I wish you luck with next year's endeavor!

                      I'm curious, where are you from in Calabria?

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                      • TorontoJoe
                        TorontoJoe commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I'm actually Calabro/Siciliano. On the Calabrese side we're from Dipignano... About 15km south of Cosenza

                    • #12
                      I cured like five olives I got one year from my tree in salt. That was easy and they came out good. This year I took the plunge and planted my olive in the ground (after like 8 years in a pot). Protected it with bags of leaves and a plant protector bag over top. Hoping it comes through alright. How do you grow olives in Toronto?
                      Eric - Hamilton, VA (7a)

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                      • #13
                        I’m thinking lack of salt brine at each replenishment was the mistake.
                        Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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                        • #14
                          Joe, I spoke to my relatives in the old country. Salt is the important ingredient at each water changing. The brown is due to oxidation which the salt reduces.
                          Romeo
                          Zone 6B. Lehigh Valley, PA

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                          • TorontoJoe
                            TorontoJoe commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Thanks Romeo. Clearly that’s what happened to me. I’ll be trying this again soon. I still have to figure out the salt:water ratios

                        • #15
                          Go back and read my 12/25 link on curing. It is informative.
                          Johnson1
                          Zone 9b
                          S of Tampa Bay, FL

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                          • #16
                            Since I am considering buying a olive tree, I am interested in this topic. Out of curiosity are you using filtered water or tap water? Does it make a difference?
                            Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
                            Wish List: Bass's Favorite, Thermalito, Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

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                            • #17
                              Originally posted by efletche View Post
                              Since I am considering buying a olive tree, I am interested in this topic. Out of curiosity are you using filtered water or tap water? Does it make a difference?
                              I suppose all will work fine as long as the salt proportions are correct. Something I still need to master.

                              In Italy the family uses different water depending on location. Our places in Sicily use water either from a local spring fed reservoir or wells..... In our area of Calabria water is largely spring fed everywhere. I have city water (which is very good here) but if I have the option I would filter it....

                              I would consider water as I do any ingredient.... That being, the better the quality, the better the result. Use the best you have available.... That said, I wouldn't personally consider commercially bottled water to be superior.
                              Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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                              • #18
                                Brined mine for the first time this year. Water salt and citric acid changed daily, bitterness was down enough that they were palatable by day 4 to adults, and the kids started eating them after a week or so. Popping them like chips. I also have some turning brown. I thought it was a form of oxidation. I had read that olives processed for Olive oil should be processed as soon as possible as the quality starts to decrease quickly.

                                We used tap water

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