An olive branch was the symbol of peace to the ancient Greeks. When they wanted to make peace they would literally take a branch from the olive tree and offer it to their enemy who had to take it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the olive branch was still the symbol of peace in the world today and how easy it would be to offer an olive branch to the enemy?
Olives grow very well in our Mediterranean style climate, they require warm summers and cool winters to thrive and will tolerate a wide variety of soil types. They are also a long term crop and will start fruiting 4-8 years after planting and after 15 years should bear fruit every year.
The trick is what to do with the fruit that’s quick and easy. Many olive pickling recipes involve weeks of preparation or the use of chemicals to speed up the process.
Perfect olives every time
- Harvest olives when they are green.
- Smash to remove the pip. Using the bottom of a stubbie on a wooden or plastic chopping board is the most effective way of removing the pip.
- Soak in a brine solution. Use cooled boiled water – 100 grams of salt to 1 litre of water.
- Replace brine every day until the bitterness has disappeared from the olives. This process usually takes between 4-7 days depending upon the variety of olive.
- Then freeze in small containers or plastic bags.
- Remove olives as needed, thaw and serve with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and crunchy sea salt.
These olives can be frozen and flesh will remain firm and full of flavour after thawing.
Word of caution:
In some areas of Australia the olive tree has germinated in native bushland, through birds spreading the seed. Avoid planting if the property is close to bushland.