On Tuesday I picked the olives off my tree here in Houston. This is the first year I’ve had good production on my Pendolino Olive Tree. It is about 12 feet tall (age unknown but I’ve had it for 3 years). It is in a large clay pot. I know you should not try to eat them fresh from the tree because they are really, really bitter. I tasted one and I can confirm… “yuck”. Olives need to be cured by soaking (brining) them.
I found this publication University of California Publication 8267: Curing Olives (PDF) helpful, but I prefer the simplified instructions (PDF) from Saundra Winokur of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard (outside San Antonio). She is an expert at growing olives in Texas.
After reading it, I had a few more questions for Saundra:
1. Do I need to change out the brine water?
You may want to take the scum off and add more brine water to keep the olives covered. But you do not want to change the water.
2. Before soaking the olives in the brine, do I need to crack them? or cut into them?
We don’t break the skin. We just soak them a little longer.
I will prepare the brine today and get this process started. Perhaps I’ll have edible olives in time for the holidays?