Friday, April 5, 2013

Olive harvest

I've been grateful for some cooler weather so that some major pruning could get done. So now the lavender hedges have been cut and most other herbaceous shrubs or bushes have been cut back. The olive trees and fruit trees will get done later on.

This year the Manzanilla trees gave two kilograms of olives - their first yield ever. The Mission olives are half harvested, quite a few are not yet ripe. The olives are organically grown, and I noticed that on the whole the Mission olives are healthier than the Manzanilla. Many of the Manzanilla have been stung by what I think are fruit fly, whereas the Mission olives seem to be mostly perfect. The trees are all close together in the bottom part of my garden - the area I call my bee garden.

The ripe olives are being processed. I have a really simple way of doing them:

I soak them in water for several days, changing the water daily. Once they have lost most of the bitterness, I put them in coarse salt for a few days. Then I soak them for a couple more days until they taste right to me. A little bit of bitterness is OK but one doesn't want them to be overpoweringly bitter.  Then they go into brine with garlic, rosemary, lemon slices, and for some, chilli.
They then mature for a few months. They are yummy. The black skins are rich in phytochemicals called anthocyanin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.