Flavoured Olives | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

In my last blog, I wrote that olives picked directly from the tree must be cured first, otherwise they are totally not eatable.  Curing and flavoring olives is an ancient culinary art, which we are rediscovering as today we are more in tune with the earth and healthy living.

I can think of five or six methods of flavoring olives, mostly from the memories of my grandmother’s kitchen. I use these methods for my enjoyment and for holiday gifts I prepare from my kitchen. My friends’ faces lit up like Christmas tree when they receive such a gift.
To make it fun, I will list only some of the easiest procedures, but you can always contact me, if you like to know more.

Baked Black Olives
Get black olives freshly picked and not cured. Place the olives in a glass bowl, cover them with cooking salt over night. The next day clean the salt away with a cloth, place them on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour at 248°-230°F. until crinkled and dried. Cool down, add a few garlic cloves finely sliced, orange or tangerine peel finely sliced and a hand full of fennel seeds. Mix well, fill a glass jar with the baked olives and after 4-5 days of marinating in the spices the olives are ready to eat.

White Olives In Olive Oil
The large and fleshy green olives are also called white olives due to the bright color they pick up if they have been curing, but no need to cure them for this flavoring method. Take the pit out, wash under current water and leave them in a clean water for a couple of days. Change water every so often until the bitter taste is gone. Dry them with a cloth. Place the olives in a glass jars, add salt, oregano, chili pepper to your liking and cover with extra-virgin olive oil, cap the jar tight. After a couple of months they are ready to eat.

Black Olives Under Salt
Use freshly picked black olives, clean them with a cloth. Place all the olives in a large glass bowl, add a good amount of coarse salt to coat well, orange peels without the white flesh, wild fennel fronds and a few garlic cloves mashed up.  Keep them like that for about three days, but turn them over every so often. The olives will exude some water, drain it a couple of times a day, otherwise if the olives rest in that water, will not lose the bitter taste. After three days and after the water doesn’t come out anymore, place olives in a cloth and dry well. Eliminate orange peels, fennel fronds and garlic. Put the olives in a glass jars, fill with extra-virgin olive oil and close tight with a lid. They are ready to eat after one week and will keep for three months.

Time to harvest olives goes from late August to November, there is plenty time to cure or flavor them, or both and enjoy all that bounty for the holidays with aperitif and appetizers.
Tonight on my table there will be celery stalks filled with creamy Gorgonzola cheese, charred green peppers, red wine, a small piece of focaccia and an abundance of olives.

I shall be here to answer any questions you might have. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and  entertainment rooms. She is a published  author of two Italian regional cuisine books, available here on the Books Page and
©Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity
©Sins Of A Queen
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w



Cure Olives, Eat Olives, Live Longer | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Time to harvest olives goes from late August through November at any stage from totally green not mature to fully ripened. The stage of the harvest depends on whether  the olives will be used for eating or oil production. Olives for eating are handpicked to avoid bruising. Olives cannot be eaten directly from the tree, they are very, very bitter and very unpleasant. The first thing to do is curing them using various methods for each type of olives. The most effective curing method is using lye, good for large, fleshy green olives such as Spanish Manzanilla, Italian Bella di Cerignola and the Queen green olives, which are often  stuffed with garlic.

Curing Green Olives
Dissolve 0.7 oz. of lye in warm water for each 2.2 lbs of olives. Place the olives in a large plastic bucket or stainless steel pot, add the water with dissolved lye, cover with tap water to the top. Leave them to cure for 2 days, mixing every so often using kitchen gloves and a long wood spoon or stick. After this time, rinse the olives with clean water many times and leave them again in a clean water for 24 hours. After this time, change water one more time, add 3.5 oz. of salt for each 2.2 lbs. of olives. Place the olives and the salty water in glass jars (only glass) with air tight lids and store in a dark cool place. They will be ready for consumption after two weeks and will keep up to two years, but once the jar is open, you must consume it.

Curing Black Olives
Black olives must be large and mature. Put them in a large plastic container filled with water and with a lid that will close tightly. Add 4.5 oz. of salt for each 2.2 lbs of olives, stir well and leave it to macerate for one year in a cool place.  Stir every so often during the year.

 

Curing With A Brine 
The elongated green olives are the best to cure in a brine. The round green olives become sweet only when they are mature, or if they are left in the sun to dry with lot of salt.  Add 3.5 oz. of salt to each 34 fluid oz of water, place the olives in this brine and leave to macerate for one month. Rinse the olives and make a new brine with 2.8 oz. of salt for each 34 fluid oz. of water. Dump the olives in the new brine, they will be ready in a month.

To accelerate the process without the brine, make small cuts to each olive, put them in a large colander with lot of salt and leave to drain for 3-4 days. In a large pot bring water to a boil with a couple of peeled garlic heads, throw all the olives in it and bring the water to a boil again for about 10 minutes. Fill glass jars with water and olives while the water is still warm. Close with an airtight lid. With this method the olives are ready to eat right away.

 

Some Health Talk
Olives contain the good elements our body needs for a natural and nutritional diet: fat, proteins and minerals.
Olives have a therapeutic effect on the liver as they help drainage, help with constipation and have a beneficial effect on colitis.
Eat olives to get just as good proteins as meat but without the animal fat. Thus olives consumed every day with a mixed salad, whole wheat bread and a glass of red wine constitute really a good balanced nutrition.

After curing olives comes the pleasure of eating them. I am including one typical recipe from Puglia, Italy, not even well-known anywhere else in Italy and which I have included also in my book ©Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity.

Pan Fried Black Olives With Peanuts
1/2 lb. of pitted black olives in water not treated (olives in t he can OK)
a hand full of raw peanut  shelled
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a hand full of finely chopped Italian parsley
salt, black pepper or chilli pepper to taste

Drain the water out of the olives, pat them dry.
In a frying skillet sauté the peanuts in olive oil at medium fire, for about fifteen minutes or until they are golden brown.
Take them out the pan and drain the excess oil on paper towel.
In the same pan sauté the olives until they become crinkled.
Drain the oil, mix with the peanuts.
Season with salt and black pepper or chilli peppers if you like them hot. Sprinkle parsley finely chopped.
Be generous with the condiments.
Serve warm as an appetizer.

If you have food questions, or questions on kitchen design I shall be here to answer them all and I shall be ready to find the best solutions for you, just leave your name down below in the box. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is the author of two published books of Italian regional cuisine, available in this site at the Books page and on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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