Full Version: A question on curing olives
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Hello all, is anything known about the way in which the ancients cured olives?

I have found several "modern" ways to cure hand picked olives fresh off the tree, but nothing about the ancient manner...

Any help welcome !

I didn't even know they were sick. :lol: Seriously, they first place I'd look is Pliny the Elder, Cato, or De Rustica. I have some stuff on olive presses from K.D.White, Ulrich, and other technology writers. I'll check their bibliograpies for sources.
Thanx in advance !! at the moment i have put 10 hand picked olives in salt for 35 days to get rid of the bitterness...

any info is welcome...

Yes, I remember Cato talked about olives. Let’s see…

Quote: To season green olives: Bruise the olives before they become black and throw them into water. Change the water often, and when they are well soaked press out and throw into vinegar; add oil, and a half pound of salt to the modius of olives. Make a dressing of fennel and mastic steeped in vinegar, using a separate vessel. If you wish to mix them together they must be served at once. Press them out into an earthenware vessel and take them out with dry hands when you wish to serve them.

To season green olives which you wish to use after vintage, add as much must as vinegar; for the rest, season them as stated above.

Cato, On Agriculture, 117 – 118

And then 61 – 69 is all about making olive oil and maintaining the equipment. This is fairly long so I won’t quote it all.
Interesting subject, this. I have cousins in greece who have olive groves. I find the whole idea interesting.
I have wondered myself about the whole process of growing and producing olives and the oil.
Quote:Yes, I remember Cato talked about olives. Let’s see..

Thanks for digging that up David. I was pretty sure I remembered something from Cato. I'll see what else I can find.
Just wondering whether to soak the olives in water first and then put them in salt or first put them in salt and then soak them in water... LOL is an interesting and helpful page but still, is it similar to the Ancient methods?

Cato is a lot of help indeed! will try to make some of his wine following his recipe... however with the environmental condition of sea water, i'd rather not use that.....

What on earth this barbarian is talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If god exist may have mercy :twisted:

Most olive varieties are...bitter! Especially the mountain variation ones!

Soacked olives need to be pressed lightly ideally left for some time under a marble plaque
The idea is to let the running water to take the bitterness out.
After you put salt on them, you put them in a container an you throw in 1/3 vinegar and 2/3ds olive oil.
You might add oregano or basil for spicing.
The oil MUST always cover the quantity of olives in the container.

More on this after I inquire with my cousins who are in the business.
For the time being please : (have foreign language links)

Kind regards
Great info Stefanos!!

Keep us posted!

Sounds more logical, Stefanos, thanks. Smile