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Olive Trees and Curing

Frantoio Olives are primarily grown in Tuscany but your garden will do just as well.

These olives are mainly used to make olive oil which are one of the fruitiest varieties available.

 Unlike other varieties that grow like a bush, this tree with its airy canopy will stand out in your garden.

Olives can be eaten straight off the tree, but the taste would not be palatable for most people. This is due to the oleuropein and phenolic compounds which is mostly removed or reduced in order for the olives to be more enjoyable. This is done through curing.

Natural Brine Curing

Olives get harvested and put into brine tanks within 24 hours. The brine consists of sea salt and water which is kept to an exact salinity and maintained. This process can take anything from 3 to 12 months.

Lye Processing before Natural Brine Curing

This process is also known as the “Spanish Cure” whereby olives are “cut” with Lye. Once the olives are harvested, they are washed in a Lye solution (also called Caustic Soda) for a period of 8 to 12 hours. This process allows the bitterness to leach out, whereafter it is washed at least 3 times to remove the lye solution. It is then put into natural brine to ferment. Due to the de-bittering at first, the last process will take no longer than 3 months.

Salt Curing

This process is commonly used in Southern Mediterranean areas. Once the olives are harvested, they are placed in drums and alternatively layered with sea salt. These drums are then rolled weekly to promote dehydration. As soon as the bitter compounds have been removed, they are rinsed and covered with olive oil. This process allows the olives to be a similar texture to that of raisins with a pleasantly bitter taste.

Air Curing

This is an extremely rare process, mainly performed with Nyon (France) and Thassos (Greece) varieties. Due to exposure from hot temperatures and the sun, olives are fermented either on the branch or once picked. This results in olives with an extremely chewy texture yet a powerful, yet enjoyable bitter taste.

Although certain olive tree varieties produce fruit on their own, they do perform better with another variety.

Mission Olives are the best companions for Frantoio Olives. Although developed in the United States, is commonly used in South Africa.

This is the only American cultivar listed by the National Olive Council in its World Catalogue of Olive Varieties

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