Planting, Harvesting, Curing Olives

Today I planted the two Arbequina olive trees I ordered from Peaceful Valley. I planted them in very large pots, and plan to prune them to keep them on the small side. They are next to the chicken coop, so the birds can clean up any fallen fruit, and so that the small trees will provide some shade for the birds in high summer. Olives like good drainage, and dry, sunny, hot conditions. I don't have spectacular drainage in my yard, as it is flat; but I've always wanted to grow olive trees. I could have created a sort of berm, but I decided to try it this way instead - a pot should provide good drainage. We'll see how they do.

We also took a trip to the olive tree I found on one of my walks with Joe. Kate and I harvested about a half gallon of small black olives. After picking through them, Tom and I followed Sandor Katz's advice and cracked the skin on each one, then put them in a jar of water to soak. We'll change the water every day (this is a good project for a rainy California winter, otherwise I'd feel very guilty about the amount of water this process entails), and after about two weeks, we'll change the water to a 5% brine. The olives will stay in the brine, fermenting on the counter, for at least two weeks. Then we'll see how they taste!

Go ahead, google 'preserving olives' and see what kind of headache you get. This method was the first one I read that made sense and didn't require a ton of salt and several months (or a year). I hope it works!