Saturday, 29 April 2017

Olive Trees and Olives



Firstly I must declare that I am not a fan of Olive trees being torn from their native lands, and transplanted into suburban gardens in France, the UK, or elsewhere. I prefer to see them in their natural surroundings. 

However, we have one (bought by someone else, because it was cheap), and I have to live with it.

I have just noticed that ours is filled with flowers, so I wish to know the following.

Are all Olives edible?

How does one know when they're ready to process?

How does one process them?

Is is possible to make good edible Olives on such a tiny scale?

Any advice would be gratefully received; last year we had a decent crop, but over-night they were all eaten by something!

Thanks in advance.



41 comments:

  1. We never processed ours - discovered the pheasants loved them. They would jump up and test them - if they came away easily they ate them. After seeing some that an acquaintance was processing I decided I preferred them ready prepared.

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    1. I don't know what ate ours last year, but I suspect it was the Magpies. One day the tree was covered, the next it was bare.

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  2. Did it survive the frost? I've always wondered what olives taste like straight from the tree.

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    1. It seems to have survived the frosts; it's very well situated, and they are supposed to be OK down to -5 C. I did try eating one last year.... inedible.

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  3. Olives don't mind frost's and love the snow. After the snow this winter all the olives in our area are covered in flowers. It's going to be a bumper crop this year. I'm sure ALL olives are edible. Black or green, tiny or huge, we've eaten them all.
    The olives next to us are in land which is abandoned and every second year have a great crop. Neighbour Vaso waters hers sometime in July. She says an olive will adapt to the conditions. I would water yours now and again.
    I'll ask Vaso about that.
    They like a bag of goat droppings every year as well and something else whose name I can't remember and a very good pruning after you've gathered the olives.
    Here olives for eating are picked from September onwards but for oil they wait till November in case there is a bit of rain and they plump up more and give more oil.
    Don't forget they do only have a good harvest every second year unless you've got some newfangled brand.

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    1. Thanks for that, I shall be consulting you in September for the process.

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    2. I was just talking to my sis in law who has over two thousand trees. She says watch the olives when they are green on the tree. They will start to change colour. When they have a little red shade on them they are perfect for pickling....before they go black, unless you want to preserve them in salt and eat them quickly.

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    3. That's exactly the sort of tip I need. Thanks

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  4. You can't eat them straight off the tree, they need brining for a number of weeks. 6 I think, but you'll have to look it up. I have a small one which flowers very beautifully here in Norfolk but doesn't seem to set much fruit, I suspect lack of pollinators or whatever, so it's just decorative really.

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    1. Maybe you and I can experiment together this September.

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    2. Each olive has to be slashed with a sharp knife and soaked from three to five days, changing water every day to get rid of the bitterness. I would say five days for you. Three days is great for Greeks who will almost eat them straight from the tree!!

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  5. LA is keeping you suspendered.

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    1. I know she has relatives with Olives, so I shall wait for instructions. The thought of eating our own Olives appeals greatly.

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    2. Firstly I suggest you have to prevent the deer eating the whole sodding lot.

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    3. They eat just about everything else. I'd like to eat one of them!

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    4. Suspendered in suspense or in brine?

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    5. The others are talking politics so your olives are very attractive at the moment. I'll also ask cousin roula who sells pickled olives at her market stall in september

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    6. I know cousin roula uses just salt and water to pickle but I prefer a little vinegar and a twig or two of thyme or oregano. Gives them a nicer taste.

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  6. The council in their wisdom have decided to plant olive trees in large containers all over the place and they are so ugly. They collect the dust and all look half dead. Maybe they do not require much water but whatever the idea they don't look nice.
    Briony
    x

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    1. They are appearing all over the place here. Huge ancient trees are to be found in enormous pots at every horticultural centre. Spain won't have any left at this rate.

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  7. We have four olive trees planted in pots alongside the front of our house. They need pruning because they are getting leggy!

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    1. I believe they are very forgiving when pruned. I did ours last year quite drastically, and it didn't complain.

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    2. 'they' say that the olive needs a crazy boss. The more you prune the more olives you'll get.

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  8. http://caminoconfidential.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/olives.html

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    1. Thanks Margaret, I've 'bookmarked' the page, and will follow their method. Doesn't look too tricky.

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  9. Olives process themselves, but I make tapenade with the black ones. I think the black ones are just left on the tree until they go black and fall off - if something doesn't eat them. Recipe for tapenade: Put a load of olives in a blender with some olive oil and whizz them until they turn into a caviar-looking paste. Spread on toast or cover white fish with some before baking. Luverly.

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    1. I love Tapenade, and make it myself. I add anchovies and capers.

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    2. I think that a bit of tomato purée would send it completely Umami.

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  10. I have an old olive tree near my front door and some in my backyard, they are 100 years old and give a lot of olives every second year. you got the very best and profetional answers from LA Greece, listen to her.

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    1. I'm sure she'll give the best advice. But Margaret's link was very useful.

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    2. Yes they are, thank her too.

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  11. Ever the Complete Gardener I have four little silky false pots of 'olive plant', they are to go into my two front window boxes. As they have 'olives' on alreadt I shall wait a wee while before the show begins.

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    1. Do let me know what you do with your 'harvest'.

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    2. As I don't like olives I could use them as faux decoration on our homemade pizzas. That's the same three every time.

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  12. We had several olive trees when we lived in California and my husband processed the olives with lye-I know that sounds strange, but it's safe-and salt. When the lye penetrates the pit--you cut it and see if it's red- then drain and add water, keep checking the olives and the the water is clear the olive is ready.
    Add garlic, oregano, whatever you want to flavor them with.
    You can't eat olives right off the tree, ever.
    We have one olive tree that we got last year, but I doubt that we'll ever get olives from it though they do grow olives here in Georgia.

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    1. I did once try one direct off the tree; never again. I think I'll probably try a simple saline mix to process them, it sounds the simplest. I'll let you know.

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  13. Maybe, Cro, in the name of wisdom and energy (ours) preservation, we don't need to process all the spoils of our land. Just leave those olives to the birds.

    What I'd like to know, and - to my chagrin - it applies to cherry trees too: How do birds (considering their relatively small digestive system) cope with the kernels? What goes in does have to come out. But at what cost?

    U

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    1. Birds just eat the fleshy part of the Cherry, and spit out the pip. Badgers, on the other hand, eat them whole and the results can be seen in their droppings.

      Everything that I grow is seen as part for us and part for wildlife; it has always been thus!

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  14. I am watching with anticipation of what will happen in September. This year I have 3 cereal bowls of them. I failed to do anything with them :( we messed about too long before deciding what method. I also have some young plants that are near on single branches going straight up. but are also covered in flowers this year? I think all in all we have 12 olive plants/trees. I am hoping that when we move I will be able to plant an orchard with the olives and apple trees. we will see. Good luck. I await your findings

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  15. In the west there is a ban on planting flowering olives trees. A blog friend would tell that every spring they have to get the hose out in "wash" all the blooms off of the very old olive trees or the city (Las Vegas) fines them. Too much pollen their street is covered in. Plus the trees are just messy.
    At one time you had to use lye to cure them. Sounds way to awful.
    We only have non fruit bearing olive trees now.

    Good Luck.
    cheers, parsnip

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  16. Cro, your post and the prior comments present a perfect example of why it is that I enjoy being connected to blogland. Best wishes.

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