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The Beginning of Olives

October 7, 2009

I had a partial post written about this new bell pepper soup that I was planning to attempt to make, but after making it, I discovered that it was a very lackluster recipe.  It used a potato base which basically contributed the blandness that so defined the soup.  The few bell peppers that were added after roasting and peeling contributed color and the tiniest amount of flavor.  In short, it was a time consuming and not very tasty recipe.

Instead, I’m going to start blogging about my latest adventure in the food world: home cured olives!  That’s right, a group friends and I decided to try our hands at curing raw olives.  This experiment will culminate in a grand olive tasting event (which hopefully won’t kill or sicken any of us).

I little bit about olive curing; raw olives are essentially inedible when they are picked off the tree.  They contain a compound called oleuropein that makes them taste very bitter.  The curing process removes this bitterness by leaching out the water-soluble oleuropein.  Different curing processes will generate different textures and flavors.

I’ve been researching the different curing methods, but I haven’t decided on one yet.  These methods range from soaking the olives in water, soaking them in brine, packing them in salt, or soaking them in a lye solution.  Given the scary poisonous aspect of the lye, I think we’ll all be staying away from that method, but as for the others, I hope we’ll have at least of couple of them featured when we get to our tasting party.

Given that our shipment of 20 pounds of raw olives arrived today, I need to get busy with my research and decide on a strategy!

Raw Olives before Curing

Raw Olives Before Curing

A great resource for more information about curing is  publication 8267 from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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