Fermenting Olives

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Chris_in_SoCal

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Feb 18, 2012
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My little olive tree is about 5 years old now and was loaded with olives for the first time. I decided to pick them today and see if I can ferment them into something edible. It looks like this will be a long process. It will start with 4 days of soaking in RO water changing it daily before weeks long of fermentation. The pic looks a little funny. The olives have a dull coating on them that didn't come off in the first rinse. I also placed two Thai peppers in there to help give them a little heat.

2023_olives_001.jpg
 
On to the next step. This is 10% sea salt with RO water. This part will take at least a month.

I added two more Thai peppers, two Habinaro peppers from my yard. Some Oregano also from my yard and dried Burdock root.

This will be changed out once a week until it is ready.

2023_olives_002.jpg
 
It was just a last minute flavor. I had an old game I played years ago where it was a thing.

It came into my things to try a few days ago when watching my favorite channel on youtube.

It seems to be both. I have a one pound packet I bought and the taste is pretty good from my small sample. I expect it will taste better once it is re-hydrated.

It is one of those super fruits that are getting a lot of attention these days.
 
I have Burdock seeds. Part of a Medicinal herb pack I purchased. Close to 20 verities of plants I plan to scatter around the yard beds. The two I was having second thoughts on planting in my yard were Nettles and Burdock.
 
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What is the reasoning for changing the brine weekly?
From what I read about fermenting olives after this was posted it is to reduce the chance of and remove any mold or kham yeast growing. A couple articles i read on it said that you could skip swapping the brine if there was no mold/yeast present on the water surface.
 
From what I read about fermenting olives after this was posted it is to reduce the chance of and remove any mold or kham yeast growing. A couple articles i read on it said that you could skip swapping the brine if there was no mold/yeast present on the water surface.
I'm no expert, but my understanding is you'd end up tossing most or all of the lactobaccili if you toss the brine. That would seem to stop or severely impair the fermentation process, resulting in high pH and possible spoilage.

Mold is certainly a potential problem with any ferment, but it can be prevented by keeping the olives submerged in the brine. Kham yeast can also be largely prevented this way or by skimming it off the surface.

Is there something special about olives that argues for tossing the brine?
 
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I'm no expert, but my understanding is you'd end up tossing most or all of the lactobaccili if you toss the brine. That would seem to stop or severely impair the fermentation process, resulting in high pH and possible spoilage.

Mold is certainly a potential problem with any ferment, but it can be prevented by keeping the olives submerged in the brine. Kham yeast can also be largely prevented this way or by skimming it off the surface.

Is there something special about olives that argues for tossing the brine?
Looks like the curing/fermenting happens in the first week of the soak. After that is just brining. So maybe it is beneficial to lose the lactobacili when you toss the brine. But I'm not an olive expert.
https://www.thespruceeats.com/brining-and-curing-olives-1808582
 
To prevent Kham from forming, you need to remove the oxygen. This happens naturally while fermenting as CO2 is produced. But after fermentation is complete, no more CO2 production. So opening and closing the lid with new brine-you introduce oxygen.

I've seen people recommend this for post fermentation maceration on the skins for red wine making..

https://www.amazon.com/Bloxygen-Pre...?keywords=bloxygen&qid=1699557249&sr=8-1&th=1

Inert Argon. Says 75 uses of 1qt. volume. But if you just top off a ferment in a quart jar, probably will last a lot longer.....
 
This jarred a few old memories for me as a young kid at my Great Noni's/ Granny's house in San Diego, Cali.
She had 20+ olive tree's that lined her backyard fence, and would have a big olive picking party for all of our family and friends on a Sunday after church.
I hated going to Church as a kid, but I knew there would be a killer Sunday meal from the time we got home until everyone passed out in a food and wine coma.

The Picking party was no different, everyone that came brought over their favorite dish, there was enough food to feed an Army.

I sure wish I had learned her preserving method, it was a simple salt cure, that was amazing. There would be 2-3 blue plastic 55 gallon drums filled to the rim with 2 to 3 different verities of olives, some green and large and others small and different shades of green to purple.

Some would get salt cured and others were either pressed at by Papa/ Great Gramp's into olive oil, and others preserved into fresh olive oil.

This post is long and not very helpful, but it deserved to be shared.

I miss my Noni and Papa, so much, I wish they lived longer to teach me the old Sicilian/ Palermo "The old country ways and recipes" I learned a lot from them but not nearly enough.


So if you have grandparents, aunts and uncles, or parents, pay attention and ask lots of questions. Or you will be missing out on a wealth of knowledge, and teach the youngsters around you everything you know.

I will be following this thread very closely, thanks for sharing the journey.


Best of luck to you.
Dan.
 
Lots of ways to cure them and even ferment then it seems. Some methods involve fermenting for a few weeks without changing the brine. I'm tempted to order some raw olives from CA on eBay
 
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All of my Greek dishes that I have posted and shared here I learned from my YaYa and Mom. Wish I had paid more attention instead of goofing off as a kid. I would have learned how to make all of them.

John
Don't we all? Seemed like my grandmother could make something absolutely great out of anything. I don't think she ever tried olives, though. Hard to come by raw ones on the Oregon coast.
 
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