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!