Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today we picked olives.

I love to eat them, but had not realised how many different shapes and sizes they came in. At least the trees were fairly short, so we could reach the olives from the ground without climbing. Some trees were full of fruit, some completely bare, but we managed to pick about 12kg. Of course Dave was selective about what he picked, I tended to pick clean.

So when we got home I took the perfect olives out for Dave to begin to process in various ways, so we can see what works best, and then I was left with 3kgs of dud ones. What a waste! We could not allow that so I decided to get the oil out of them. Olive oil comes from olives? Pale yellow stuff, that is so good in cooking.

Right. These are ripe olives, already black in colour. So I put them in a big cast iron pot, and used a slightly smaller pot's lid to crush the olives. Only I wasn't strong enough to make any impression on the fruit, so I stood on it and rocked. That started to work and I could hear squishing noises. Only, unfortunately, the juice started to splash out, onto our landlords kitchen floor. Dave suggested I go outside, but my feet were already rather olive purple looking. So he carried me out! On his back! With me giggling all the way.

Once outside I did manage to get quite a lot of goo out of the olives, but it is a purple goo, more like the colour of wine! So I tasted some. It is bitter, very bitter.

Now we have added water to the goo, and hopefully the oil will rise to the top, and we can somehow scoop it out. I am not sure that the oil will be worth it, as my feet and hands are now stained purple, and my back is aching from falling over while rocking the pot, but it certainly adds to our fund of experiences here.

My only question is "is the oil that is going to rise up out of the goo going to be purple, pink or yellow?"


  1. The oil will be yellow with a tint of pruple I guess. But to be honest I don't think it'll be worth it. In a mill where they really crush the olives 3kg will get you a bit under half a litre of oil. I expect you'll be lucky to get half of that....

  2. Grin. It was the ultimate You-tube video moment opportunity I missed. We seriously don't expect more than about 20 ml Francis. It was just 'see if we can' with the blemished and wrinkled olives which would have been wasted.

  3. Good for you for trying, Barbs! I'll have to have Jody post his chicken recipe that uses black olives. Mmmm - maybe I can get him to make it for our anniversary.

  4. wow!

    Maybe there's a kitchen utensil you need -- not so much for olives ;-) but it's occasionally extremely useful, enough to make up for its awkward size and shape in storing. It's a sort of cone-shaped strainer on legs, with a wooden pestle. Let's see if I can find a pic online ...

    Ha! it has a name! I never knew -- it's a China Cap, the second implement in this article:

  5. Yes, thank you, a kitchen gadget we don't have, I will look into it for Dave's birthday!

    I am really looking forward to the recipe, I love it when Dave tries new ones, and we are going to have enough olives to stock a small shop. But of course we can't sell them as our kitchen is not certified!

    So far there is no oil, so I still have no idea of what colour it would be!

  6. I've been promising myself that next time we move, we look to build our own place and I'm going to insist on a commercial kitchen. No animals allowed and only limited access to MicroMammoths.

  7. No, I do not think I could cope with a commercial kitchen, I do not do red tape well. We will just have to share our produce with friends and swop for what we do not have. Olives for meat??

  8. The sad thing is that _I_ would be the primary user of said commercial kitchen. Yet, I would really love to have a 48" stove. I get too many pots going on a 30" and the heat from one spills over to the other. Which kinda sucks if you're trying to make certain sauces. Ideally a B├ęchamel should be done on a stand alone burner. Oh, and if you add cheese to make a Mornay and one part of the pan is hotter....because it's cousin is going through a similar trial by fire...the troubles you have! One would wish to be Motie with enough arms to stir everything!

    So yes, for me, a 48". We all have dreams. :)

  9. My own stove (not this... POS I am using) gas- commercial small catering unit, has 4 plates and a long center burner - I love it. I get the motie syndrome too (and chopping and mixing and...) It's only 80 cm - but the center burner splits things nicely