The last post I did about olives in 2013, we were having to pick them green to beat the birds. Maybe it’s because our trees are a bit more mature and the olive harvest is bigger. Maybe it’s because climate change is bringing the harvest forward a little. Maybe it’s because the rainforest trees are bigger and native figs are in season too. The last few years though I’ve been able to harvest them fully ripe. We’ve just started picking this year’s olives but it looks like there will be a good year’s supply for us and enough to give away again this year.
Olives are easy to process. You just have to allow them time. I pick them over to remove any damaged ones, then put them in big glass jars and cover with water and drain and change the water every day for a fortnight. This is the work part. The rest is mostly just waiting.
Make up a strong brine – one-third of a cup of salt to each litre of water – and soak them in that for three months. The only hard part in that is stopping them floating in the brine, for which you need something heavy that will fit inside the jar to push them down. I have some little ceramic saucers that do the job nicely. After three months, I drain off the brine and cover them with olive oil, some jars with some preserved lemon, chili, garlic, or herbs added. They are good at this stage, but it takes another month or two to get to superb.