Are you wondering how and when to harvest olives? Do you want to know the difference between green olives and black olives? Are you curious about the best time to harvest olives and how to determine if they are ripe? Do you want to learn the best methods of preservation? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need on olives.
When to Harvest Olives?
Having an olive tree in your garden is like having a piece of Greece in your home. The delicate leaves, woody fragrance, and beautiful deep green color are a joy to behold. During the summer, the olives on your tree will develop until it is time to harvest them. So, when is the best time to pick olives? The answer is at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. This is the perfect time as we slowly transition into the cooler months. Autumn is also a great season for picking mushrooms, fruits, flowers, and wild herbs. If you enjoy foraging in the forest and gathering ingredients for your kitchen, you will find an abundance of various species.
How to Determine if Olives Are Ripe?
The ripeness of olives depends on personal preference. Some people prefer to wait until the olives are completely black before harvesting them, while others like them when they are reddish-brown or green. The color difference is due to the maturity of the olives. Contrary to what I previously thought, black and green olives are not different species. Black olives are simply overly ripe, while green olives are not fully ripe yet. Therefore, the choice of when to harvest the olives, whether it's early, mid, or late autumn, is entirely up to you and the dishes you want to prepare with them.
To learn more about olive tree care, check out our article on the 5 things olive trees dislike and common mistakes to avoid.
How to Harvest Olives?
Now that we know when to harvest olives, let's learn how to do it! If you already have an olive tree, you may have noticed that it is full of olives. Whether you prefer them ripe or not, you can pick them by hand. Yes, it may seem tedious, especially if your tree has around 1000 olives, but it is doable. You can start by picking the green olives, then wait for them to turn brown, and finally, in late autumn, pick them when they are completely black. All you need is a ladder and upper body strength. Many farmers use machines to harvest olives, but even with machines, they can only pick olives from a few trees per day. Handpicking olives gradually every day is feasible and very rewarding. However, once the olives are picked, can you eat them raw? The answer is no. Olives need to ferment before they can be consumed. Even if you eat one right after picking it from the tree, it will taste very bitter, regardless of its maturity.
How to Preserve Olives?
There are two main methods to preserve olives – in brine or in oil. As mentioned earlier, you cannot eat raw olives due to their bitterness. So, preserving them is necessary.
To preserve olives in oil, start by thoroughly washing them. Some people even suggest soaking them in a basin of water for about 10 days and changing the water occasionally. Once the olives are clean, place them directly in a jar with oil and add any herbs you desire. This method is simple and yields delicious results.
If you prefer to preserve olives in brine, follow these steps. Heat water and add salt, thyme, and any other herbs you like according to your preference. Once the water is no longer hot, place it in a jar and add the olives. You can store them for months in a dark, cool place, and they will stay flavorful.
For more information on the health benefits of olives, check out our article on the 6 health benefits of olives to know.
Hello, I'm Olivia, a proud member of The Daily Herald team. As a passionate writer, I enjoy sharing captivating stories that bring a touch of elegance to our readers' lives. In fact, one time while working on an article about fashion trends, I stumbled upon a hidden gem boutique that ended up becoming a favorite among our loyal followers. It's moments like these that make my job truly rewarding and inspire me to keep uncovering the best lifestyle secrets for our readers.