Table Olive Processing (Method 1)

fermentationThis method is similar to the natural fermentation process we use. It allows the sugars in the olives to ferment and form lactic acid. The end result will be well worth the effort and the wait. All the wonderful flavours are preserved and this gives the olives its delicious taste.

 Green Olives:

  • Green olives are soaked in a caustic soda solution of between 1,3 and 2,6% for ±15 hours. The time may vary according to the size and ripeness of the fruit. After a few hours, take out an olive and make a cut through the flesh. When the lye has penetrated two thirds of the distance between the surface of the fruit and the pit, it is ready to be washed.
  • Also try to prevent the olives from coming into contact with air, as this can cause the colour to go dark or an unattractive khaki green. Keep in an airtight container (stainless steel, glass or high grade plastic will not affect the taste) through the entire process.
  • In the mean time prepare the brine by dissolving 1 kilogram of salt in 10 litres of clean water.
  • Now rinse the olives many times with clean, cold water to remove soapiness and caustic residue. This step is very important, because you don’t want your olives to taste of caustic soda or “soapy”.
  • Place the olives into a suitable container and cover completely with the brine. Make sure the container has a tight fitting lid.
  • Leave to ferment ±12 months. Taste them from time to time and decide for yourself when they are to your taste.

Bottling: Remove from the brine, rinse with clean water and place into glass jars and cover with hot brine. To make the brine solution: 20g Salt mixed into 1 liter boiling water. Cover immediately and leave to cool. Store in a cool place and refrigerate after opening.  Wine vinegar may be added to taste. You may even add sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme or a few cloves of garlic or lemon slices.

Black Olives:

  • Black olives are washed and left in fresh water for 1 or 2 days.
  • Prepare the brine by dissolving 1 kilogram of salt in 10 litres of clean water.
  • Place the olives into a suitable container (see above) and cover completely with the brine. Make sure the container has a tight fitting lid.
  • Leave to ferment for ±12 months. Taste them from time to time and decide for yourself when they are to your taste. Remove any olives that are floating on the surface.

Bottling: Cover with hot brine: 20g Salt mixed into 1 litre boiling water. Cover immediately and leave to cool. Store in a cool place and refrigerate after opening. You may also add a film of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top of the brine if you like.

(Source: http://australianextravirginoliveoil.com)

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