I’ll never forget my partners face when he picked an olive from the tree for the first time and tried it! As those of you who have experienced this know, olives straight from the tree are disgusting and need to have the bitter oleuropeins removed. That is why the olives you buy have already had the oleuropeins removed through soaking, curing and fermenting.
Where I currently live in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, the climate is coastal and cool temperate; warm and dry in summer and cool and wet in winter (without frost) and alot of people plant olive trees in their urban gardens as ornamental trees that do well in our mediterranean-like climate.
Mr Policeman has planted a beautiful big olive tree next to the footpath and it is loaded with olives after a really dry summer. I have added it to the For Greenies Communal Food Plants Google map. Olives in New Zealand are ready to pick in Autumn, around April/May when some of the green fruit is beginning to turn purple. Curious passers-by asked us what they were and were surprised to know they were olives. As we explained the process of curing them before eating we had lost about half of them. This is because curing olives requires time and patience, and alot of it!
How to Cure/Ferment Olives
This is the first time I have cured olives and all of the information I have read requires soaking of the olives in a saltwater brine solution, for up to six months, changing the brine every so often.