Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Starting A Vegetable Garden: Olives

Even though my vegetable garden is a fairly new project my olive tree has been growing for near on 13 years and began fruiting after 10 years.

Each year around this time the children and I go out and collect as many olives as we can for pickling.  We have so much fun climbing the tree, climbing on the roof and cubby house.   Like little monkeys, gathering olives in buckets, hats and pockets.

Olives ready for pickling ~ JOLI NSC
We picked them when they're green or else the birds will get to them first and we'll have none for ourselves.  We also leave many olives in the top branches for the birds to enjoy.

The olives are washed to remove any bird droppings and pickled in a collection of jars.

~ Marinated pickled olive recipe ~

Pickling ingredients:
1.5kg fresh olives
1/4 cup sea salt
4 cups water
1 cup olive oil (approx)

Marinade ingredients - suggested only, you can choose and omit ingredients:
Olives in jars ~ JOLI NSC
2 cups olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 large cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
4 dried whole red chillies
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon peppercorns
6 thick slices lemon
3 sprigs fresh thyme

Stage One ~ rinsing to remove bitterness ~
1) Using a sharp knife slit the olives down the sides in two or three places through to the stone.
2) Place the olives in containers and cover with water. Weigh the olives down so they remain submerged.  Change the water every day for 5 days (use the water on your garden).  You will notice the olives begin to change in flavour and go from unpalatable to almost edible.  You can do this stage longer if you feel the olives need it.
3) Discard water and rinse olives.

Stage Two ~ pickling ~
1) Place the salt and 4 cups of water in a saucepan and stir until salt dissolves.  Place olives in jars and pour the brine over them, covering them.  Pour enough olive oil over the top to cover the surface of the olives.
2) Seal tightly with lids and store in a cool, dark place for 8-12 weeks.  The longer the better to help decrease the bitterness of the olives and allow them to soften.

Stage Three ~ marinade ~
1) Combine 2 cups olive oil with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup dry white wine in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat and add the other marinade ingredients - adding and omitting ingredients to your taste.  Stand for 30 minutes.
2) Add a lemon slice to each jar.  Add olives and arrange garlic, bay leaves etc. attractively in the jars.
3) Cover with marinade and seal.  Store in a cool dark place for up to 6-12 months or longer.  Leave for at least 2 weeks before opening.  Refrigerate after opening.


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