October 11, 2008

OLIVES....one year later

OK...I know, I know. I keep getting requests for more blogs. Even though there is so much that I want to share, it is next to impossible to blog when we are welcoming groups to Provence.

So now it is early in the morning. The Provence light is casting its golden/orange shadows across the porch. I have my cup of steaming coffee and am the beginning of this day could not be better.

Throughout the season, Xavier and I get lots of questions about the olives. There are 17 trees here on the property and everyone wants to know what happens next. So, in a nutshell, here it is. As the olives ripen, they are hand picked or, in some instances, raked from the trees. At this point, they can go to the mill to make olive oil, or be preserved whole in brine, or dry cured with salt, or treated industrially with lye. But, to become edible/palatable, no matter how green or ripe (black) an olive is, it must be processed to remove the bitterness.

So now, it has been almost a year since these olives went into the brine. Yes, I know we are rushing the process a bit since it can take a year ++ to cure olives this natural way, but my time here is short and I just can't wait! Anyway, they will continue to mellow without the cap. During this past year, a cap formed across the top and actually acted as a seal. Yes, it looks like mold and, in fact, is mold. But, by now, you know that all mold is not bad i.e. the cheese lesson posted previously (see Blog Archive, May 2007) Xavier carefully lifts the cap from the olives and !voila!, we are sampling the olives grown right here on his property. Delicious and full of flavor.....we even rinse those that were trapped in the cap, drizzle with some of the olive oil from his trees and yum, yum, yum! Click on the slideshow to view the uncapping process!