Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's the olive season

"As olives ripen, from green to brown to purple-black, their bitterness is reduced naturally, if slowly. “I’ve tasted olives that we picked ripe in November and left alone until the following June,” said Maurice Penna, who farms 100 acres of olive trees in Orland, Calif. “They taste smooth as silk, with just a trace of bitterness that I think is delicious.” Black olives can be brined like green olives; or they can be dried, salted and oil-cured. That process results in black, wrinkled, velvety olives, but is more challenging for home cooks."

It's the olive season in Lebanon, and I've started to harvest the few trees we own. My family and I spent most of last weekend picking olives, green and black. The greens and black are pickled differently.

The green olives: We washed them and left them overnight in water. Then we slit them with a knife and pickled most of them in brine, with lemon slices and hot pepers (they last longer than when you crush them). I use salt from the salines of Enfeh in North Lebanon, nice, coarse unrefined, wild Lebanese salt. I kept a few handfuls of olives aside to cure with salt only: easy: just slit them, sprinkle wild salt, wait a couple of days, and eat while still bitter. I will be doing this everyweek till December.

The black olives I treated differently: I dried them and mixed them with salt but without crushing or slicing. I mixed them everyday until they started to ooze black juice. I wanted to pickle them in olive oil after one week of curing, but my wife found worms in the juice, and I had to thrown them. Some people do not like worms in their olives.

1 comment:

bashir said...

wished I was there...