starting with the last moon of summer

It’s nearly Autumn, or like, what I would call Autumn. Sure enough the olives are turning green, juicy and readying themselves.

I’m talking about the wild ones, the ones no one collect or brag about.

Still they are aplenty, and the wildlife enjoys them too.

If you wanted to wait that the fruits got to be black, sweet and ready, you would probably be disappointed, as birds and possums would have cleaned them off the tree before you!

That’s why I pick them green, and pickle them following an old recipe from where I’m from, Italy, which is the same place where this plants are from, the Mediterranean Basin.

 

foraging for wild olives, Olea africana

Here’s the recipe:

Green olives are more bitter than the fully ripened ones, therefore they need to be ‘washed’ before preserving them.
An old technique involve simple elements: water and salt.

Prepare the green olives by perforating them with a needle or a sharp implement, this will facilitate the exit of the bitter juices from the fruits.
We then need to immerse the fruits in cold water, for a period that varies from 24 hours to 7 days, depending on how big are the fruits. You will be able to assess when the readiness of the olives by tasting the water, if the water is bitter, the olives are not ready. We will need to change the water regularly, at least daily.
When the fruits are ready prepare the ‘salamoia’ (saltysludge?) by adding 4 tablespoons of salt every litre of cold water.
Another way to determine if the water is salty enough is by inserting a potato or an egg, if either float, the water is ready.
Bring the salamoia with the olives to boil and remove from heat as soon as that happen. Let rest for 12 hours.
Put the olives in jars making sure the salamoia covers them.
You can add here chilly, garlic, lemon wedges, wild fennel or olive leaves.
They would keep for 1 to 2 years.

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