Monday, November 8, 2010

Curing Olives

Often I try to escape the kitchen.  I'm in there ALL the time.  I tell myself that I'm crazy to spend so much time in there and why don't I go find something else to do.  Go learn a new skill!  Knit a scarf!  Run a marathon!  Do something besides COOK!

So last Sunday I made a trip to my friend Caroyln's house for a scrapbook sale leaving my spatula behind but taking Mike with me for the outing.  My poor scrapbook has been patiently waiting for me to finish it for the last six years.  Yes, six years ago my daughter and I went to England.  I came home with high expectations and grand visions of a scrapbook to immortalize our memories from that most fantastic journey.  And my outing to Carolyn's sale was inspiration to finally get it finished.

Well I've never been to Carolyn's house and upon arrival I immediately noticed a large olive tree in the front yard beckoning to me.  The tree was magnificent and covered with gorgeous shiny green and purple little olives.  I reluctantly pulled myself away from the tree and entered the party.  Being that I actually do get a thrill from crafty supplies and decorative papers, I made my scrapbooking purchases and Mike, knowing me so well, asked about the olive tree.  Carolyn was more than happy to show us the tree and the many others on her land and was very willing to let us pick them!  I was THRILLED to say the least!  I've never cured olives before, but I could feel the excitement spinning up through my belly at the thought of trying something new in my kitchen.

Two days later Mike and I returned to Carolyn's house with a big bucket ready to be filled.  For an hour we picked those pretty babies off two of the trees.  I could have picked all day, such was the joy I felt in harvesting food.  Local food, grown in my neck of the woods on a tree just waiting to share her bounty and become tasty little morsels to eat!

Mike and I picking olives

I just can't get enough!

Hmm now how to cure those olive?  Thank the heavens for internet!  After searching many websites, we found a recipe that seemed easy enough.  So how exactly did we do it?  First, we rinsed the olives in the sink to remove any debris.  Second, we punctured the skin of the olive with a knife, making a small slit in the skin without slicing into the pit.  Third, we filled glass jars to the top with the olives.  And fourth, we poured a salt water mixture over the olives up to the very brim so all of the olives were covered.  (1/4 cup of salt to 4 cups water)  To keep the olives from floating up to the top and peeking out of the water, we placed drinking glasses in the jars.  It's working pretty well so far!

Our loot in the sink ready to be washed

Adding a cut to the skin

And now we wait!

So how long does this olive curing process take?  Well according to my internet sources, six weeks.  Each week the water must be changed and new salt water added.  This coming Tuesday will be the first water change.  And just a hint, place a cookie sheet under your jars.  As the olives are curing water is slowly dripping over the top and making a gooey mess!  I'm excited to have another experiment on my counter.  It's most definitely not the first and certainly won't be the last!

So my attempt to leave the kitchen and find other ways of creating and doing actually led me BACK into the kitchen!  What!?  I guess I can't escape.  I went for scrapbooking supplies and ended up curing olives!  Somehow or another I always find myself back in the kitchen making some kind of tasty temptation or crazy concotion.  Perhaps it is just my destiny to be the Kitchen Witch.

And by the way, I did actually finish that scrapbook.