Our active home…

We’ve been fairly active the past two days, some planned, some not.

First and foremost, the storms that brought tornadoes to dozens of places across the country last night brought high winds to Nashville. After losing a tree to a wind storm last time, I woke up this morning looking for any damage that might have been dealt to us.

Amusingly, though, I woke up and looked out the window into the front yard, but never considered the back yard. I just happened to walk out the back door and found this giant chunk of tree lying in the yard. We were quite lucky in the fact that the position of the tree kept it from causing any damage.

Because it leaned out over the fence line, when it dropped, it landed squarely in the yard. Additionally, because of its height (length?), it didn’t manage to hit the fence next to the street. Now, thankful for the lack of damage, we’re again in a position of having a giant piece of tree in our yard!  You can see more photos as part of this set.

So that was the unplanned part of our activity – as for the planned portion, I’ve decided to take on the task of curing olives. I found a place in California that sells fresh olives by way of Alton Brown’s website. Alton is from the food TV show Good Eats, among others.

I never realized that olives were so (relatively) easy to cure, so I decided I’d give it a go. After borrowing some buckets from my dad, I ordered a 10 pound box of olives! The box showed up Thursday afternoon, so as soon as I got home I began processing them.

The processing involved removing the last few stems and leaves, in addition to preparing them for their (at least) week long soak. There are a couple of different schools of thought for the soak when using only water. (Green olives are apparently traditionally processed with lye!) One school is to “bash” the olive with a mallet or wooden spoon in order to crack the skin. The other is to slice the olive lengthwise two or three times. Both of these methods will allow the acidic taste to leech out of the olives, as, apparently, they are ridiculously bitter otherwise.

I decided to make one third of the olives with a slice, one third with a smash (the exact pressure decision was tough), and the final third with no adulteration. I then filled each of the buckets with about a gallon of water and sealed the lid. I’ll have to change the water at least daily for at least the next seven days. After seven days, I’ll begin to taste test the olives.  There are more photos in this set and I’ll be adding to that as this goes along.

I changed the water once this afternoon (some recipes say to change three times daily, but I’m basically planning on one.) and I did notice a slight difference between the buckets.  The cut and the smash buckets have an olive smell to them, whereas the untouched bucket had no odor.  Also, the water in the buckets with an odor was discolored, where the other wasn’t.

Once they are suitably soaked (I hope I’ll know!), then I begin the brining process. I’ve got three different recipes for that as well.

While I didn’t time this on purpose, it is amusing that I may be able to pass out olives for our Olive’s birthday!

Expect to see plenty more of the olive curing process… and I sort of wonder just how many hits we’ll get on the blog because of this!


13 responses to “Our active home…

  • Sheila Craigge

    Wow, more trees! Funny about you doing olives. Both you and Susan are in the process of incubating little olives. Do you mean it takes about a year for them to brine? What a wonderful story for our little Olive. I hope they taste good! Love

  • Sheila Craigge

    So does it take a year for the olives to brine? Love

  • Ian

    Not at all! Like I said, I hope to be able to pass out olives for Olivia’s BIRTH day… as in, instead of cigars, olives.

  • Sheila Craigge

    Are we touchy tonight? Birthday was one word, that’s why I asked. Love

  • Ian

    🙂 Not touchy, it just sounded different in my mind the first time around, but obviously it didn’t work. In the reply, I figured it needed to be made more clear…

  • Ed Craigge

    If its made clear, it may not make sense. Sure is nice that you two understand each other, though. I think that may take a bit of pressure off me. I’ll just stand over to the side with kind of a blank stare wondering(maybe)what’s going on. Olives are great and now I know why I occasionally buy them after someone else has done all of the work and put them up in those neat little glass jars that you can just unscrew the lids to grab a few and then close. That’s totally different than me spending 2-3 hours yesterday molding up a couple of hundred 5 oz. sinkers to go fishing(and then pitch the fish I catch back in the water).

  • Ian

    I took me a second reading to figure out what you meant, Ed, but when I got it – I laughed a great deal! Even as I was reading about the curing, it made me appreciate just pulling a jar off the grocery store shelf.

    Much like most people would appreciate pulling a box of 5oz sinkers off the tackle store shelf! 😉

  • Uncle Munkee

    What are you going to do with 10 pounds of olives?

  • Ian

    You mean once they are cured? I’ll give some away to people in my family / circle of friends that like olives. The others, though, will go into the fridge to be eaten. I hope to have several different “flavors” based on a number of different brine recipes.

  • Uncle Munkee

    Feyd likes olives. Although I’d hate to see what happens when a 14 lb cat eats 10 lbs of Olives. Amy can have fun cleaning that one up!

  • Tiffany

    Can you make olive oil out of these? What are cured olives? I feel retarded.

  • Ian

    I don’t know that this particular variety of type olive is very good for oil, but it is something that could be done if I had a press. I’m not sure if oil makers have to go through this leeching process that I’m doing…

    Cured olives are olives that you might actually consume. They are, basically, olives that you’d buy in the store. I don’t know the commercial process for olives, but this would be comparable to brewing your own beer.

    The fresh olives have to be leeched of their bitter taste, and then they go through a salt “curing” process. The “cure” could be a brine cure, similar to making pickles, or a dry salt cure similar to curing meat.

    Cure, defined, is “to be prepared, preserved, or finished by a chemical or physical process”

    Don’t feel bad – its a unique and random hobby!

  • Russ Rickerd

    I used to watch my dad cure olives in San Diego as a kid.
    we had to gice up the bath tub for about three weeks it seems now. But they were sure better than the canned ones.
    I like the green ones cured just like the blackones best.
    I live in texas now and no olives how did you get yours and how much? heres hopeing you and the family enjoy them as much as we did.

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