Since I now live in the land of
milk and honey olives, I have seen more olive trees than I could have possibly imagined. But until this weekend, I was unclear about the whole process of how the olives get off of a tree and turn into the delicious things that you eat and cook with.
This weekend, I went on a group tour of an olive grove in an Arab village in the Golan. In this village, the inhabitants use olive oil for every meal. They even eat a spoonful of olive oil daily before breakfast and use olive oil to moisturize young and old.
The trip was labeled an "olive picking" adventure, but I'm afraid we were terribly inefficient. We painstakingly plucked several bucket-fulls of "ripe" olives only to find that the real way to get olives out of a tree is to thrash the tree with a long stick. We sorted the olives into green and purple and picked out the leaves and sticks that were also dislodged in the thrashing. FYI: green olives are actually just unripe black olives.
Next we smashed each individual olive and filled our jars with olives and water. After soaking for 24 hours, we made our own saltwater brine mixture and placed hot peppers and olives in the jar with the olives. We have to wait 2 weeks before we can eat them. Pictures and recipe to come if they turn out. Crossing my fingers!!