For our 5th Wedding Anniversary Ross and I went to the Cederberg with Jozi and Cupar for a long weekend. We stayed at a beautiful farm called Alpha Excelsior near Clanwilliam Town. It was a piece of heaven. The farm makes their own wines (from grapes grown on their farm), Olive Oil – also handmade on the farm. They grow large amounts of Rooibos, which we, unfortunately missed them planting by a week or two. No cell phone reception, our two fur balls, living on a functional farm, star gazing with Ross, walking to the waterfall and watching the sunrise – my idea of a perfect weekend,
Becky and James made us feel so welcome. Becky allowed me to pick some of their Olives from their trees as well as some of their Quinces. What generous hosts 🙂 The picking of the Olives involved Ross sleeping in the sun under the grape vines, the dogs eating fallen olives and me picking these beautiful large mission olives straight off the tree. The trees were laden with fruit – one tree grows enough olives to fill at least 30 bottles.
Olives are incredibly bitter straight off the tree. They are so bitter they are inedible (unless you are Jozi and Cupar who seemed to love them) I have never made my own olives before so I did quite a bit of reading before I tackled the mini mountain of olives. Mission olives are enormous so I chose to slit the olive flesh to help assist in leaching the bitterness out of the olives faster. The method you use to get rid of the bitterness in the olives is through soaking them in a brine (salt water) solution.
This is not a fast process. Some recipes take a year to complete – I do not have that kind of patience, the method I used this time took 5 weeks, not too bad.
Home Made Olives
Unfortunately you cannot eat olives freshly picked off the tree they are unbelievably bitter.
This is a method of pulling the bitterness out of the olives and leaving you with beautiful tasty olives.
This does take some patience (a couple of weeks) but I promise it is worth it.
Salt (lots of salt – I recommend buying 2kg)
- Slit one side of the olives half way (this speeds up the process of removing the bitterness)
- Mix 400g of Salt in 2 litres of water and pour the water into a container with a lid.
- Add the olives and put the lid on the container for 2 days.
- After 2 days remove the old salty water completely and replace with a new salt solution for another 2 days.
- Repeat this process for 5 weeks.
- Test an olive and see if you like the taste – if they are still too bitter continue the salt solution for a few more days until the desired taste is reached.
- For bottling prepare a new batch of salt solution. Place the olives in clean bottles and pour the salt solution over the olives and close the lid tightly.
- Store the olives in a dark place e.g. A cupboard and use as you wish
Sterilising Bottles: Fill the bottles with warm water up to the half way mark. Place the bottles (without the lids) into the microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Pour the boiling water out the bottles. Fill with olives and salt solution.
The extreme black colour of the olives was leached out by the salt solution and the olives became a dark purple colour. I love them – so does Stan the Cat 😉
Here you can see the slits I cut into the olives at the beginning of the process which have opened slightly during the curing process.