are so special, and so widely used that I felt they should have their own page.
Those people who are lucky enough to own their own tree or who have access to
olives in quantity may find this page useful.
Olives as they grow on the
tree are pale green. When they begin to turn straw-colored, they are picked and
prepared in various ways for eating. Fresh olives are very bitter, and the
bitterness is removed in the preparation. As the olive becomes riper it develops
more oil. Ripe olives are either green or black. Both are picked later than the
early light green olives, but before they turn jet-black, as they do when they
are ready to be picked for their oil.
Select healthy firm olives and wash them thoroughly.
Soak the green olives for between 24 and 36 hours in a solution of 55g caustic
soda ( known by many names : sodium hydroxide, lye ) to 4½ litres of water. Use
an enamel, wooden or pottery container, but never aluminum as caustic soda will
react with it. Keep the olives covered with the solution to prevent
discoloration. Rinse thoroughly and leave in fresh water until all the caustic
soda solution has been washed out. Change the water every hour ( you are awake
) the first day and thereafter twice a day. It takes two days to to remove
the last trace of caustic soda.
Soak overnight in a brine solution made with 55g kitchen salt
per 4½ litres of water. Then soak for a further two days in a solution of 110 g
salt per 4½ litres of water. If using ripe black olives, make an incision
lengthwise in each olive to aid absorption of the salt solution. On day three,
soak the olives in a new solution of 225g salt per 4½ litres of water. On day
four, make another solution of 335 g per 4½ litres of water and soak for one
week. The olives are now ready to be packed into sterilized jars of any size you
wish with a new solution of 390 g salt per 4½ litres of water.
When the jars are packed pour a 12mm ( ½ in ) layer of mild
oil on the top and seal with non-metallic tops such as glass or cork.
If the olives are too salty when you wish to use them, soak
them in fresh water before using.
and Herb Olives
|500g ( 1 lb ) green olives
||2 lemons, sliced
|1 tsp coriander seeds
||2 sprigs rosemary
|2 sprigs thyme
||2 cloves garlic, peeled
|1 tbsp black peppercorns
|500g ( 1 lb ) black olives
||extra virgin olive oil
Use a wide-necked jar to make it easier to
fill and serve. Drain and rinse the olives if they are in brine keeping the
green and black separate. Place a layer of green olives in the bottom of a
sterilized jar, top with a layer of sliced lemon, then a sprinkling of chopped
herbs and sliced garlic, followed by a layer of black olives. Continue in this
manner until the jar is filled. Add the olive oil to cover, seal, and store the
olives in a cool place. Leave at least two weeks before using.
Makes about 6 cups.
|90g ( 3 oz ) anchovy fillets
||1½ cups (225g/7 0z ) black olives
|2 tbsp capers, chopped
||2 cloves garlic, chopped
|2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
||freshly ground black pepper
|2 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
Remove the stones and chop the olives.
Place all the ingredients, except the tomato paste, in a mortar and pestle, food
processor or blender and blend to the desired consistency, rough or smooth. Stir
in the sun dried tomato paste. Spoon into a sterilized jar and seal. Store
the relish in the refrigerator until required.
Makes about 1½ cups.