After the middle eastern gloom of my last post it seems there is some light there now, with a ceasefire that appears to be holding and allowing people to resume their normal lives as far as that is possible under a blockade. May it lead to better lives for all. In our garden there was light too, on the rosemary flowers where there were still bees, even though it’s nearly the end of November.
It was time to bottle the olives that I started curing in salt a few weeks ago. We’d eaten some last weekend so we knew they were ready. For the past few days I’ve been soaking the olives in spring water, changing the water every day or so, to rinse off the salt and to plump up the now rather wrinkled olives. Today it was time to bottle them ….. in brine. It seems strange to put them back into a salt solution, having just tried to remove the salt, but I think it will be the best way to keep them for a few weeks until we eat them. When we want to eat them I’ll drain them and coat them in olive oil.
I made a solution of 1 cup sea salt to 4 cups of spring water, checking that it was salty enough by floating a fresh raw egg in the brine. I packed the olives into jars with a few slices of fresh lemon and covered them with the brine. The top olives always float above the surface of the brine so, in order to keep them submerged, I tried a couple of bay leaves lodged in the jar with their stem and a slice of lemon – both together seemed to be the best method.