Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seasonal tradition: home-cured olives

I just checked my post from a year ago, and at this time last year I was already curing black olives. This summer was short and cold (the damn promised global warming didn't happen, so give me a little local warming, I'm ready), and then last weekend it changed abruptly into the fall.

We still see some sunshine - it's California, after all, - but more often it's a strong wind, followed by a downpour. I am lucky to have taken a picture of my sunset flame tree that used to greet me on the corner on my way home. Almost all the leaves are gone now.

And on the cross street, lined with olive trees, the still green olives are being kicked off the branches and roll under my feet by a thousand. I still hope for some black olives that I like better later on, but with this weather there may be few left to ripen. So this Monday I stopped on the way from work, and within 40 minutes collected four pounds of green olives from the ground.

Just in time I found this wonderful blog with a green olive post and learned about the Greek water curing method. After cleaning and sorting my olives I divided them in two parts; one I brined with the salt water (1 Tbsp kosher salt dissolved, not without difficulty, in 1 cup of water, to get the brine as salty as seawater) to be cured slowly; in the other batch I split each olive with a sharp paring knife, covered them with cold water and put a napkin on top to keep them submerged, and I change the water daily - with this water method they should loose their bitterness much faster.

Note to myself: I started both green olive batches on October 20th. 2 lb black olives from downtown Los Altos cracked and started in brine on October 26.

The first release is planned, as always, for the end of November.

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