First, float your (nest) egg …

Just like a term deposit, preserving olives demands a six month wait (at least) and patience. But at least with olives there’s probably a bit more interest involved!

Today at the garden Julie and Julia helped us preserve around 40kg of olives generously donated to the garden by locals Louise and Peter. They had dealt with as many olives as they could manage.

The ‘scientific/banking’ method is to prepare a brine mix which your pour over your freshly picked olives (ours were dropped off on Wednesday arvo, so they spent the last couple of days underwater to preserve their freshness; olives are best picked and brined immediately) and then seal and leave in store for around six months. You can taste test after 3 but they won’t be ready, say both Julie and Julia. The longer the better.

So back to the brine. The method Julie uses is to add salt to warm water, stir to dissolve it, and then pop a fresh egg into it (We used Powlett Hill BD eggs). If the egg sinks, add more salt. The egg will float once the brine is at the correct salinity. The other method is to weigh out your salt and go for a 1 part salt to 10 parts water (weight by volume) ratio. I like the egg method.

Gently stuff your olives into a jar, or container, or barrel – discard any bruised or damaged/marked fruit, as well as leaves and stalks. Leave some room at the top and pour the brine in, ensuring no bubbles and that the fruit are completely covered. Place in a cool dark place and let your interest accrue. We’ll be checking on ours in October.

Thanks to Julie and Julia for running us through the process. Whilst the olive bottling and brining was happening, I put our first application of BD500 (horn manure) through the flowforms  for an hour, then sprinkled it about the garden as evening was approaching. It was perfect conditions – overcast, moisture in the air, wet soil, moon descending and waning. And excellent quality BD500, thanks to Rosie and Ernst at ABV.

A quick reminder about next Sunday’s (30 April) working bee at 10am – we will be car pooling  out to Welshman’s Reef Vineyard to plant our fundraising garlic and have a quick meeting afterwards. If time, some more garlic planting in the garden may be on the cards too.

And don’t forget our birthday/membership day on 21 May. More news on that soon.

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