So I'm down to the last few tasks on my 2010 to-do list.
#122,567 - Wrap-up the whole olive brining experience on blog.
So here goes. I am actually all done with brining my olives at this point, and happy to say so. To date, that was the most annoying, time consuming homesteading project. I followed the guidelines from this book, but now I'm thinking the author *may* have left out a part like - 'dump your moldy brine everyday and refresh your solution.' I dunno... just a thought. At some point, I came across a comment by an olive guru stating you should NOT have mold in your brine. That was enough to get me to toss six pounds of homegrown olives into the composter and to start all over. From then on out, I referenced the more clearly written guidelines set by The Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. For the most part, I had success.
When I went back out into the yard (in late October, was it?), I found this - my olives had begun to mature and turn purple.
I thought these olives were all so beautiful together in their little bowl. What I didn't realize at the time (because I still had no idea what I was doing) is that you don't keep your green olives with your purple olives because the different colors take varying lengths of time to brine. Maturing olives should be divided into about five different color groups. (I'm not even sure I have that many bowls so I just simplified matters and divided them into two.)
Here goes brining olives, Round 3.
Instead of making an individual slit in each olive, as I did in the first go-round, I decided to get *rustic* on this batch and hammer each fruit open. A bit more messy but I loved the raw quality.
Always, always get the kids involved! If nothing else, it's just good, cheap, child labor. Here, Little Miss Frijoles dissolves the salt in water. (You can see our olives are now divided by color.)
Flash forward about two weeks and our olives *seem to be* free of any bitterness and so they are ready to jar. I followed the instructions, and added some seasonings to the mix. I divided the olives into various recycled jars and stored them in the basement.
All of this was done right before Thanksgiving, so naturally, I was eager to try them with the family all together. Everyone did a little (courteous) dance around me, telling me how *neat* they were but that, oh maybe, they might just be....a little bitter.
But for some reason (like I'm cheap), I never tossed them and instead brought them out again for Christmas dinner. And wouldn't you know it - totally different product, and totally awesome homegrown olives! Just that little extra time in the brine made all the difference and I'm back to looking forward to a 2011 full of olives.