|the crimson petal and the olive|
It started life somewhat like a tiny bush in a little pot with a tiny bottle of Tuscan olive oil tied around its trunk. A parting gift from a dear friend.Having already travelled from Italy to England, it then continued its journey with us to the Algarve,so in theory we have an Italian strain of olives growing in our Portuguese garden. This term these olives have come to power in our garden with an overall majority, giving the thespian a chance to stand as the opposition and find a cure .
There are many ways to cure olives, many of them time consuming and complicated.The essential thing is that you extract the glucosides from them – the chemicals that make the olives very bitter when they are just picked.
You can cure them in water, changing it daily, or dry salt them, or salt then smoke them, or you can do it with a rather complex combination of water + brine sequences.For many reasons the thespian settled for salt curing.Being surrounded by an abundant supply of flor de sal this seemed the most logical reason. Secondly this method is great for smaller olives ( like these ones picked from our tree,similar to the Portuguese "Galega" variety)
Dry Salted OlivesFirst prepare the olives – wash them and slit them.
Take a clean Kilner jar,add a layer of natural flor de sal, then a layer of olives, and so on until the jar is full.
The salt will trickle down between the olives, but as long as it’s all packed in there, that’s ok.
Your salted olives will need a shake and a turn ever other day – the olives will soon exude liquid and the whole jar will become rather slushy. That’s great,you´re on course. Keep going.
Start tasting your salted olives after about 3 weeks, and when they taste right to you (saltier, and a bit shrunken, and slightly sweeter than brined olives), remove the olives from the salt.
Once your olives are duly salted, you can eat them as they are, or store them in oil with herbs. They’re pretty damn yummy.
The advantage of not using more complicated cures is that you can decide what to flavour them with and marinate them with herbs,garlic,chilli oil and other things like garlic or lemon in small batches to suit whatever suits your taste at the time.