Olive Season 2013

Scoring the black olives

Just say the word olive around here in the southwestern region, and you will get all kinds of advice on how to “put up” olives. ┬áSince this is my first foray, I’m going to keep my progress on this blog, and invite comments along the way.

Yesterday, October 13, a beautiful Sunday afternoon in sunny Tucson. At our house in the middle of town, we have three old olive trees. It’s illegal now to plant fruit bearing olive trees because of the allergens. Last Fall we watered generously. One tree in particular gave a lot of new growth and now, in September and October out popped beautiful black olives.

Now was the time to harvest and try our hand at pickling. We picked however many olives we thought we could manage to put up for a first attempt. After tossing the withered and unusable ones, we had at least three times the amount in the jar above. Beautiful, perfect, mostly purple-black olives.

We rinsed them off and scored them with a sharp knife, along one side of each olive. Firm, and beautiful; some are red, green, purple, or a combination. I tasted one, and that was interesting. I wouldn’t advise it.

Next we got the brine together. Nothing like a pure Kosher Salt, using about 4 tablespoons per quart, until the egg floated (I like those old wives tricks).

Then into the fridge in the wide mouthed jars. According to most advice, refrigerated curing will take 4 to 6 weeks.

The olives floated strangely to the top. More on that tomorrow.

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