Our Black Olive Harvest

When we bought our house, the olive tree was little more than a struggling sapling in the corner of our front garden (far left in this picture).

Olive tree in our Bodrum Garden Turkey

But over the past 8 years it has grown from strength to strength, and this year I was looking forward to picking the green olives and curing them in a salt-water brine. But we arrived in Bodrum too late, and the olives had already turned black.

You’d think that ripe olives were better to cure, but after a bit of on-line research, I read that the riper black olives are more bitter than green olives. So although you can attempt a salt-water brine (a popular green olive method), it’s not guaranteed to work on black olives. So I kept trolling the web for a curing method for black olives and came across an “oil cured method”, which actually uses salt rather than oil to cure the olives.

Why the name?

The salt extracts the oil from the olives and makes them all wrinkled and pruney. Then when they’re cured, you can soak them in oil to rehydrate them a little. Or even boil them in water to rehydrate them, which also gets rid of some of the saltiness.

Picking Black Olives

I was just going to pick a small batch of olives and try the salt-cure method, but Red went and pillaged the tree and we ended up with enough olives to see us through to Spring.

Bag of Black Olives in Bodrum Turkey

Our kitchen isn’t currently optimal for my grand Bodrum Culinary adventures, so it was a bit of a squeeze trying to wash and sort the harvest  and getting them ready for salting on our narrow counter-top. (The sooner we get this kitchen renovated, the better!)

Washing the Black Olives in Bodrum TurkeyThe recipe called for a sack to cure the olives in, but as we were fresh out of sacks … I had to sacrifice one of our reusable canvas shopping bags for the cause!

Salting the black olives in Bodrum Turkey

I added salt and coated all of the black olives to make sure they were surrounded by enough salt to draw the moisture out of them. Then we tied up the bag and hung it outside to start the curing process.

Hanging the black olives out to cure Bodrum TurkeyThe recipe we followed said we should mix and juggle the olives around in the bag, at least once a week, to keep them coated, and that it would be 4-6 weeks for these black olives to cure.

I’m wondering how many weeks will pass before I’m tempted to sample one of these little puppies to see how bitter they are!? Watch this space.