TABLE OLIVES AND TAPENADE
The green Manzanilla olive is the first to ripen and to turn a specific green/yellow colour – this is the time for harvesting – the hand-picked olives have to be carefully handled as they can easily bruise. After washing and sorting the olives are treated in a ‘lye’ solution – this process can take as little as a couple of hours or up to eight hours depending on the outside temperature and the softness of the skins. The olives are then washed and placed into a brine solution for fermentation. This can take up to eight months, but once completed the olives are then washed and sorted and placed into a mild brine solution and are ready for stoning and stuffing and packing into jars. Olives that do not fit the rigorously high standards for table olives are pressed to make Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The black Mission olive needs to fully ripen on the tree if it is to produce a high quality black table olive. The olives are washed and sorted and placed in a concentrated brine solution to ferment. The acidity and salinity of the ferment solution has to be monitored on a regular basis and corrections made where necessary – otherwise it is possible to lose the whole barrel which can turn slimy and sour. During fermentation the olives tend to lose their colour, but once the fermentation is complete the olives are allowed to oxygenate in the sun to regain their black colour. They can then be packed into jars of light brine or Mission extra virgin olive oil ready for sale.
Tapenades (or olive pastes) are made from both green and black olives by the addition of herbs and oil, a little garlic and lemon juice to bring out the true flavour of the processed olive. Delicious served on fingers of toast.