I have a passion for olives; ever since my arrival in Beirut, I have been eating so many every day that I decided to limit my intake to twenty a day.
Um Elias, a seasoned farmer from the Chouf mountains, told me I could pick them early and pickle them; after trying hers, I decided to follow suit.
If you are lucky enough to have an olive tree, you can pick them early, like I did; follow this method and obtain delicious olives in about a week’s time, without the excessive salt that is characteristic of the store-bought ones. The taste of these olives is superior to any olives available commercially.
- Pick some olives from the tree; place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with water. Drain the water the next morning and add some more water; the water you will drain will be dark and full of dust; keep filling with water and draining until the water is clear. This will take 2 or 3 days or even longer (I stretched this for about 5 days).
- Take a mallet or a stone and with a firm stroke, smash the olives, one at a time. A rock is the best tool for this, but a meat mallet or something similar will work.
- Place the olives in a jar, interspersed with a handful of coarse salt and cover with olive oil. I used about 1/3 cup of salt for about 14 ounces of olives, as I am mindful of my sodium intake. Close the jar and set it aside for 4 days or more. Enjoy!
A quote from the impressionist painter, Auguste Renoir
” Just look at the light on the olive trees… sparkling like a diamond; it is pink, it is blue; and the sky playing through it. It makes you crazy”.