An Olive Tree From A Long Lost Friend
The photo above chronicles most of the 2016 olive harvest from our Grove Avenue olive tree. Notice I said “tree,” not “grove.” If it were a grove, we could boast. But we don’t. We just have the one tree. Unfortunately, I don’t actually even know the variety of our one tree, as it was a gift from our friend Jim Holland, who passed away in 2015 (God rest Jimmy’s fun-loving, green-thumbed soul). But today, I found myself talking to Jimmy as I perched high on a ladder, reaching for the rather small, but plump olives which hang out in the top of his tree.
Thoughts of an Olive, a Martini and an Homage to James Holland
“Jimmy,” I said, “Thanks for giving us this olive tree. The ladder is shaky, but the tree has grown very well. I just wish you were here now, to hold the ladder for me and also to enjoy the fruit of your gift. I miss you, buddy.”
Last year, Jimmy’s tree produced some small olives but they were not really large enough to eat. I think Jimmy was busy with other things. This year, however, the olives are much larger and hang in grape-like clusters. They are still only marble-sized, but the olive tree is quite prolific.
We missed much of the harvest this season (probably another two mason-jars worth), while we were on our Norway trip, but there still remain numerous green olives of the sort that make me think about martinis. I do believe I shall pick another peck of those little green olives and dedicate that first martini to Jimmy. He liked a good martini.
An Olive Recipe To Follow.
The brining process is simple. One quart of water is mixed with one cup salt. (I used Himalayan salt because I had a large jar of it just lying around in the pantry looking for something to do.) You need to soak the olives first, so they lose their bitterness. I think I read that soaking should be done three times total during the span of approximately one day – and you should change the water each time. More or less, that is what I did. (But then again, I am not really good at reading or remembering directions. So, we shall see.) Next, place a slice of lemon at the bottom of a jam jar, then fill the jar with olives.
Wait! Not so fast! Make sure you slice each olive first, so they absorb the brine. That does take some time, slicing each little olive, but in the end, I hope it’s worth it. (The martini shall be the judge.)
Now, lastly, fill that sucker up with olives and another half slice of lemon on the top (my idea) and cover with a layer of olive oil. Hide the jars in a cool dark place and wait approximately one month for the brining process to take place. And I guess this is the last part: Unscrew and plop a few of those babies in your mouth.
Mmm! Good olive!
A Fig Thief in the Garden