Black olives and a praying mantis


We picked just over a kilo of ripe olives in the garden this morning – a much smaller harvest than two years ago, but at least much better than last year when almost all the fruit was affected by olive fly. I’ll soak them in spring water for a couple of days, then prick them with a fork and salt them to draw the bitterness out. After a few weeks they should be ready to eat.  This is a quick way of curing olives and one that is only possible because we have such a small crop! As I was picking the olives Lo Jardinièr called me over to the rosemary bush where he’d found this praying mantis, upside down among the flowers.


Such strange creatures, that we seem to see more in autumn than at other times of year, and are apparently related to cockroaches although they seem more attractive to me! Because they eat smaller insects they are sometimes used for pest control in organic gardening, but they will eat anything (even each other if they can’t find anything else) so they can also eat beneficial insects in the garden.

5 thoughts on “Black olives and a praying mantis

  1. This increases my knowledge of olive preparation by 100%. I’m glad to hear it can be so simple. And I agree, the praying mantis is more attractive than a cockroach. Why should that be? I have no idea.

  2. Thank you so much for the lesson on olives! Don’t grow any myself but have, on occasion, been offered a bag- or bucketful by friends who do! Have never accepted: but then i always thought they would be a huge bother to cure!! Oh, and I love the praying mantis – do get them occasionally in my garden – of course when the camera is not handy!

  3. Pingback: Curing olives | olivesandartichokes

  4. So how do you cope with the olive fly? I spent a cold day recently stripping infected olives from my nine trees…a bitter harvest indeed. A friend offered me 2 pails of olives, so all is not lost. I’Ve been soaking them in water for about 2weeks and plan to add salt to them soon.
    Happy solstice to you,

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