Starting the Olive Harvest

I don’t know how many olives we will be able to harvest this year.  Time is not something we seem to have enough of at the moment and other things are just more important.  It’s a shame seeing olives going to waste but such a low price commodity often rots on the floor I guess.

We will do some though not the 150+ trees that we should.  The main olive oil crop won’t even be our trees.  Instead we will pick the Mother-in-law’s who lives on flat ground with great trees that produce fine olive oil.  Most importantly they are all easily accessible by car, for seriously easy olive collection.

The focus for our own olive harvest will be preserving as many as I can find bowls for.  It’s taken a few years but I have finally found a tried and tested Lebanese recipe for pickling olives that I understand and that we both enjoy eating once they’re ready.

So far I have only picked one batch, from the smallest olive tree we have, that is also conveniently just outside the front door!  I’m on day 3 of nearly a month of soaking, rinsing, salting and eventually vinegaring before putting into jars.  Good to know we’ll have some in time for Christmas as one of my primary goals for the festive season is eating!

I realise being self sufficient in olives is hardly e most useful food stuff, but it is one of the most lovely and does make for a happy household.  Snazzy organic olives in herbed oil are after all a luxurious and pretty pricey bye for most, so it’s great to be smug about having them for very little investment other than time.  Plus its quite nice to know we’re not eating olives that have been soaked in caustic lye like so many are.  Even better is the even more fruity than usual olive oil left in the jars that makes the most fabulous oil for salad dressings or plain pasta sauces.

5 Responses to “Starting the Olive Harvest”

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  1. Jan says:

    Picking olives is very time-consuming, so I’m not surprised that you’re not going to be harvesting all the 150 trees!

  2. Chris says:

    Just about to finish our harvest in Catalonia – Spain. Have lots of EVOO put aside for the next 24 months.

    Just wanted to share a recipe for olives with which we have had success this year.

    Pick green olives with plenty of ‘meat’ on them – lightly crush (a tap with a rolling pin does well) and put into a jar. Top up with water.

    Shake the jars and change the water every day for 7 days, then make a brine solution (80gm salt to every litre of water). Empty the plain water from the jars and top up with the brine solution.

    You can also add whatever herbs you care to – Mint is good – as is rosemary. There is a special herb here that they use for this recipe, but they only know of it as the ‘olive herb’. I know where I can pick it, but if I told you where, then I would have to kill you! Apparently it is a closely guarded secret.

  3. John says:

    Hi Mrs.Dirty Boots,
    Congratulations on your website. It’s really good.

    We also have a small finca with a few olive trees – we have almonds mostly. I’d love to know exactly how yoo preserve the olives from scratch. It would be appreciated if you could write what you do exactly.

    We haven’t moved over yet. We are hoping to do so in a year or so. Our finca is not too far from Asco. Where are you?

    All the best on your self sufficiency,

    Best regards,

    • Hi John, I follow a recipe for pickling olives written here.

      I only do black olives, as have failed miserably with green ones so many times that I have now admitted defeat!
      Good luck with the move – it is a beautiful region – we’re further downriver in the els Ports.