What to do with the few olives that are left on the trees?
Our test: baked olives, sweet, bitter, salty, spicy.
Post harvest reconnaissance
Strolling through the olive grove after harvesting invariably you will find some fruit that has not been harvested. There is nothing strange, it is impossible to see all the olives hidden by the fronds and not all of them are picked and resist even the olive harvester …
So take your basket and start checking every single olive tree, recovering at least the ones close at hand. You slip into the tree, you climb, you stretch yourself trying to take as much of it as possible without even knowing why.
You come home after an hour with a couple of kilos of olives asking yourself “What am I doing now?”.
While waiting for the brilliant idea, you leave them on the kitchen counter.
Sooner or later the hint comes
The next day, helping a neighbor with the harvest, during a break they put a jar in your hand saying “Taste these, it’s our recipe”. Out of habit you expect the usual olives in oil or brine and instead they are strange. Shriveled, bitter, and it is normal, but also a little sweet for marinating with a little oil, orange juice and zest, lemon zest.
Okay, we have the recipe.
Reconstruction of the recipe
When you get home you have already forgotten half a recipe but you are ashamed to ask for it again, so you sketch.
Fill the holes with variations that tickle you and from the memories and variations you invented, the Baked olives, sweet, bitter, salty, spicy are born.
Take some recovered olives, choose the best ones and wash them well several times, then check them again, they must be as perfect as possible because unlike those that go to the mill and which are ground all together, these must be eaten one by one. one and cannot have defects.
Put them in a pan in the oven at a low temperature (100-130 degrees) for 40 minutes or an hour until they wrinkle without drying out completely.
Take a bowl, pour the olives into the oven and add (with the quantity of your choice) extra virgin olive oil, orange or mandarin juice, the peel of the chosen citrus fruit cut into small pieces, salt and chilli (better in small pieces than powder).
Mix for a while with your hands, tasting and adjusting the doses and when satisfactory, put everything in one or more jars, taking care to turn them upside down from time to time to absorb the sauce evenly.
If everything went well, the final result will be a contrast of flavors between the bitterness of the olives, the sweetness of the citrus fruit, the salty and spicy of the chilli.
I realize now that it is not so easy to have untreated olives available if you do not have an olive tree in your garden but, if you happen to have them in your hands, try it or ask us if there are any left. 😉