This chapter gonna need pretty long time. Sorry about it, but usually the good things need the most time at all….
And if i am living in Mallorca, Spain, in the fields of thousands of olive trees… i can not miss to try to make my own little jar of little olives… can i? Of course u have hundreds of tins as an option in the supermarket to choose from… but we all know, that everything is better when its home-made.
I have already developed my marinade for the “ready-to-eat” fruits cause usually the oil or salty brine they store in pretty horrible… i rather get a high quality oil infused with orange&lemon peel, fresh thyme or rosemary…. whatever is in the kitchen – makes it million times better… But what if i do the whole (long) proccess by myself?
So i ve decided to jump in this experiment and went for a ‘raw olive hunting tour’ in the nearast big park. Well, i have to say, i am not the biggest olive tree specialist, so i have no really idea what type of this fruit i have got finally… i was checking on the internet – there are more than a couple of course… finally i guess that my little ones called ‘cornicabra‘ – this looks the same pretty much. We will see, i was checking for enough informations…
Did u know that this tree is evergreen? U hardly can find more tough creature than this – disease- and fire-resistant so they can live forever pretty much. Officially u can visit olives with 2500-3000 years old hanging around Greece, Palestine or Portugal… luckies.
Obviously Spain’s production is the biggest in the world – around 8million tonns per year. So they do know how to turn these little bitter fruits to a yummy crunchy treat.
Couple of options exist depending on the type, big or small, green or brown or black etc etc etc… but the main goal is to get rid of the bitterness.
- Soak in water
- Brine curing
- Dry – salt curing
- Lye curing
My type of olive fits in the ‘brine curing’ category cause its small and has got dark colour – so lets jump in this business. First of all u need to check your little fruits, half of them is filled with worms or ants so: bin in! The rest needs a good wash and a little cut on the top and the bottom – helps the brine to work. Now u make your brine, the ratio is about 1:10 (salt : water) but its just perfect if a raw egg is floating on the top. So cover your olives with this brine carefully and leave it for a week when u are going to change your brine to a fresh one (shake your stuff every day, moved them a bit). And leave it for another week and so on and so on…. after 4 weeks u can try to taste it, can be good depending on your taste, usually needs 6 weeks to loose all the bitterness and get a sexy falvour&texture.
So i have an extreme case – my boyfriend was crazy to try my olives after 3 weeks and it seems to be ready. Almost ready, i guess it needs a week for a “resalting proccess” cause at the moment we have the right texture but not the taste. So i changed the brine for a more spiced and less salted water with fresh bayleaf, black peppers, skin of orange and lemon and some red vine vinegar… see whats happening after this, fingers cross :)
After all u have nothing left to do just get a cute little jar, put your olives inside and fill up with the brine (dont forget – its gonna be marinating till u eat all). Cover the top with high quality oil so its officially closed for any air and keep it “forever”… :)
I have a secret quality check trick if im trying a new restaurant (with spanish style of course). I have to go for an “olives of the house” starter to see the truth. Dont get me wrong but its like the bathroom in a restaurant. If its not right – nothing else is. I dont expect absolute home-made oilves (its too much effort and time) but in the field of this fruit a good place needs to show off with the simpliest and the best. There is not much price differences between a sh8t and amazing quality anyway.
Voilá…. ready my really home-made orange and rosemary marinated cornicabre olive fruits…. was a pleasure (and a game of patience).