Sep 192013

I found a video for us to enjoy on how to grow olives. It’s for the home gardener and is from the Better Homes and Gardens Australia website. Here is the link to the companion article.

In the video the host, Graham Ross, mentions a pruning technique to help encourage olive trees to grow fruit or grow more fruit. It’s this practice, opening up the canopy to let in the sunlight and air, that inspired my closing good wishes for all of my readers (see bottom of article ↓).

After you have fruit on your olive trees you absolutely must eat some, BUT not straight away. They’ll need to be pickled first. Also from Better Homes and Gardens are instructions on how to pickle your own olives.

“Step 1: Pick then sort olives, removing any that are damaged or deformed. Remove odd stems and leaves from olives to be cured. Rinse well with water.
Step 2: Place olives on a cutting board. Prick each several times with a fork or make 3 slits in skin using a serrated knife.
Step 3: Put 10 cups water into a clean bucket. Add ½ cup sea salt or cooking salt. Put olives in bucket, ensuring all are submerged – you can put a plate on top to keep olives under solution, if required.
Step 4: Pour out and replace saltwater with fresh saltwater each day. Do this for about 12 days for green olives and about 10 days for black olives.
Step 5: Bite into an olive to test – if bitterness is almost gone, your olives are ready for final salting.
Step 6: Pour off and measure last lot of saltwater so you know how much brine to make.
Step 7: Measure and put that quantity of warm water into a pan. Add and dissolve salt at a ratio of 1 cup salt to 10 cups water. Bring to the boil. Allow to cool.
Step 8: Put olives into a jar. Pour brine over them until all are submerged. Top jar with 1cm of olive oil, tightly screw on lid to seal and put in a cool cupboard. You can store your olives like this for at least 12 months.
Step 9: When you’re ready to eat, pour out brine and fill jar with clean, cool water. Leave in refrigerator for 24 hours, then bite to test. If they’re too salty, empty water and replace with fresh water. Leave in fridge for another 24 hours and test again. Repeat until your olives are just as you like them.”

May the sun shine through your branches.

Nov 172011

Since I was a child, black olives heralded the winter holiday season. My parents, siblings, and I would go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The best part of each meal was the tray of raw vegetables and pickles. Each item was nestled in it’s own little scooped out slot.

In the kitchen, my Grandmother would open a can of pitted black California ripe olives, drain them, then put about half the can in the tray. She knew better than put the whole can in. I had devised many clever ways of sneaking the olives before any one else could enjoy some too.

This Sunday, California’s Butte County Historical Society is celebrating the 100th year of the home of the woman responsible for those lovely and delicious black olives I crave, Mrs. Freda Ehmann. Mrs. Ehmann started the olive canning industry in 1898 in Oroville, California and is known as the Mother of the California Ripe Olive.

The program begins at 2:00 pm, this Sunday, November 20, 2011. The lectures and tour of the home will cover stories about the Ehmann family and the Revival/Craftsman style of the home.

The home is located at 1480 Lincoln Street, Oroville, California, and is normally open for tours from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays. The tours are given by Alberta Tracy, who acts the part of a maid employed by the Ehmanns. For more information, call 530-533-9418.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Sep 072011

After the frantic call from my brother about his prematurely maturing (sorry for the redundancy) olives, the few olives that had ripened already fell off and the rest though not ripe are too small to harvest. Problem solved. Harvesting of the little Tampa olive tree will commence in another month. Joe’s need for an immediate olive curing fix has subsided.

I took my time and found lots of olive curing recipes. I also found a lot of videos, but didn’t like them so much. Here are some of my favorite olive curing techniques for Joe and all of you to try. Cure 0n!

Kevin Weeks from Kevin Weeks’ Seriously Good Food has a great method for “Curing Olives“. Kevin’s method is geared toward the person without a lot of space or time to fool around with curing.

I am somewhat reluctant to put up the link to this website since it is very busy. Busy is annoying. BUT – there are several good recipes here so check it out – “Olive Curing Recipes“.

Here is another good website for curing olives – and the article is “Olive Curing Recipe“. Take note of the garlic recommendation. The author recommends jarred garlic instead of fresh. That’s good to know.

Gems in Israel’s “Olive Recipes” provides several olive curing recipes and a recipe for tapenade. The recipes are easy to follow.

Save some for me Joe. I can’t wait to try them.

May the sun shine through your branches.