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Processing Olives

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wobbly

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Dose any one out there process their own Olives in a brine solution?

I have about 35 lt of large Kalamarta Olives to process and have started the process by sorting the good from the bruised and damaged etc, washed/soaked then over night twice in clean water and now have them in a 10% brine solution. To check the brine solution I have calibrated my hydrometer at 2%,4%, 6%,8%, and 10% solutions so that I can easily check the brine solution over time.

The recipe I have says to thoroughly wash the olives and then place them in a 10% brine solution for about three months and when the ph reaches 4 the process is finished. There are a few intermediate ph readings that indicate the various phases the olives are progressing through.

I have a "screen" on top of the olives to make sure they are all below the brine (there is about 50mm of brine solution over the top of the hold down screen) and not exposed to the atmosphere. The vessel I have then in is a standard fermenter so they are exposed to light some what

Well they have been in solution for about 12 days now and the ph has dropped to around 5.1 but I am now seeing some mould growing on top of the brine solution.

This is not the first year I have tried to process my olives and previous years I have had to ditch them when the mould had grown excessively and effected the olives

Can any one give me any clues on how to stop/control the mould or advise on any mistakes I am making with my process

Any advise would be appreciated

Cheers

Wobbly
 

benno1973

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I've done them a few times in brine, and same as you, there's always a mould growth on top. To be honest, it's more of thin white thready film which I understand is kahm yeast, a pretty common by product of lacto fermented vegetables. If you've ever made lacto-fermented dill pickles before, you'll probably have seen it. Most instructions recommend to 'carefully remove' it, but if you've ever tried that, you'll find that it breaks up into small pieces and drops into solution, which isn't real helpful.

Best advice is to do what you're doing, in that you need to make sure the olives are submerged well below the brine. You can also fit an airlock and leave it like you're fermenting beer, making sure you don't open the lid. The kahm yeast and moulds are aerobic, and the lacto ferment produces CO2, so if you keep an airlock on and have minimal headspace, you might be in a better situation.

You can replace the brine regularly, although this is hard to do without bruising the olives. You'll want to tip the top layer of water off to make sure that the yeast doesn't mix into the solution and spoil the flavour, and that tends to know the olives around a bit.

Finally, you could try floating olive oil on the surface and/or acidifying the brine solution. I haven't tried either of these methods, bu theoretically they should help.

Good luck!
 

donburke

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Kaiser Soze said:
Finally, you could try floating olive oil on the surface and/or acidifying the brine solution. I haven't tried either of these methods, bu theoretically they should help.

Good luck!
floating some olive oil on top works for me

i brine then for about a month as any longer tends to make them too salty for my taste

after a month i wash them, then soak in vinegar for a day, then remove half the vingar and top up with olive oil and they are ready to eat

i harvested about 4 kg off my tree this year, a month ago and today is the day they got transferred to the vinegar, whilst not the best olive i have eaten, they do taste pretty good
 

Rod

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I follow the same method as you

no worry about the mould ,some of that white stuff can be cold olive oil

some people say the white mould is preferable and helps cure the olives

just wash some olives and put about 6% salt solution to cover in a small jar

and store in the fridge as you need them
 

wobbly

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Thanks for the feed back to date. I am aware of the "white thready" film that can occur but my issues is not that.

I have this time (and in the past) a real "grey fury" growths (cells) that float and can quite easily be scooped off with a spoon etc. It's not unlike you see on old mouldy cheese or bread.

The olives are well below this floating mould so I can try and keep scooping it off. I have tried (in the past) putting a thin olive oil film on the top but maybe I didn't have enough brine cover over the olives as I think they were still "exposed".

Not sure that sealing the fermenter and installing the air lock will now do anything for me as it looks like most of the fermentation phase has passed so not sure there would be enough activity to develop a CO2 blanket that might inhibit the mould growth any way it's worth a try so will do that as well as trying a film of olive oil on the top

Any further comments would be appreciated

Cheers

Wobbly
 

DarkFaerytale

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never tryed processing olives myself, just find the thread interesting

do you have kegs woobly? maybe give the fermenter a shot of co2 on top to purge the oxygen and seal it up with glad wrap
 

wobbly

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No kegs so no CO2

Also in the past I have mistaken the recipe I have been following and had added acid (vinegar, citric acid etc) to bring the ph down to about 4.3 at the start of the process and received the same results that I am experiencing with this lot. Reducing the ph at the start of fermentation will have some effect on the formation of lactic bacteria which may be effecting the process in some way. Not sure how though.

The notes go on to say that if the brine is allowed to fall below 8% and the ph not maintained around ph 4 bacteria capable of metabolising lactic acid and converting it to acetic and propionic acids become active and cause spoilage. But I think this is to do with storage after fermentation has completed.

Now I'm no food scientist and don't therefore fully understand what the processes are so maybe if there is a "foody" out there maybe he or she can add some comment that may help me out.

From what I have read you should only add "acid" at the start of the process if you have used what is commonly called the "Spanish" method where you first soak the olives in a "lye solution" until it has penetrated 2/3 way through the olive. You then wash them and add a 12% brine solution with 1% acetic acid. When the solution reaches a ph of around 4 they are considered to be finished and ready for consumption.

The recipe instructions I have say for packaging the processed olives you should stored in a 6% brine solution with a ph of between 4 and 4.5

Confused!!!!

Cheers

Wobbly
 

donburke

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wobbly, i appreciate you taking the scientific approach, and understanding why and how things work, but try a KISS approach with at least some of the olives, you should be pleasantly surprised

- score the olives on one side
- soak in fresh water for 5 days, changing the water every day (this helps extract the bitterness)
- then soak in a brine solution (enough salt to float an egg which is roughly 7:1) for a month, cover with a little olive oil
- after a month, wash the olives and marinate to your taste (either in a weaker brine, olive oil, vinegar, oregano etc)
- after washing, i soak in vinegar (some balsamic and red wine or sherry vinegar) for 24 hours
- after 24 hours remove half the vinegar, add some oregano and top up with quality extra virgin olive oil

they are then ready to eat and enjoyed with your favourite beer
 

mmmyummybeer

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When I made olives I stabbed them on both side and I changed the brine solution every couple of days. I covered them with glad wrap and put another bowl on top to keep the olives in the solution, as they float at first. When they were getting closer I would taste the olives until the bitterness was almost gone. The greener the olive the longer it will take to get the bitterness out, if they are more mature it will be quicker but they can end up being a bit soft if they are too ripe. Same goes if they are in the brine too long they can end up a bit on the soft side, not enough and may be still bitter. For me I found tasting them to be the best way to achieve the perfect finish. I then rinsed them and left to soak in water for a day to rinse out some of the salt. I placed my olive in olive oil instead of vinegar. Anyway that's my 2 cents
 

JaseH

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donburke said:
wobbly, i appreciate you taking the scientific approach, and understanding why and how things work, but try a KISS approach with at least some of the olives, you should be pleasantly surprised

- score the olives on one side
- soak in fresh water for 5 days, changing the water every day (this helps extract the bitterness)
- then soak in a brine solution (enough salt to float an egg which is roughly 7:1) for a month, cover with a little olive oil
- after a month, wash the olives and marinate to your taste (either in a weaker brine, olive oil, vinegar, oregano etc)
- after washing, i soak in vinegar (some balsamic and red wine or sherry vinegar) for 24 hours
- after 24 hours remove half the vinegar, add some oregano and top up with quality extra virgin olive oil

they are then ready to eat and enjoyed with your favourite beer
I done them this way last year - worked a treat. I just ate them straight out of the brine solution after they had pickled for a month - yum! Always intended to marinate some of them but got lazy, then they were all gone!
 

stef

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I did some last year similar to donburke's method. Once they were done i drained them, put them in a big screwtop glass jar (cleaned but not sanitised) and topped it up with oil, garlic & chilli. Went to the kitchen the next morning and it looked horrific- had gone semi solid with 'clouds' of grey/brown muck all through it. I didnt try any and chucked it in the bin. I didnt taste any, which in hindsight was a bad move as i might have been able to diagnose a problem, but looking at them i wasnt able to convince myself to eat one. Pretty annoying after waiting all that time... Any thoughts on what might have gone wrong? It wasnt cold enough for the oil to have solidified- looked like an infection of some sort.
 

Feldon

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stef said:
I did some last year similar to donburke's method. Once they were done i drained them, put them in a big screwtop glass jar (cleaned but not sanitised) and topped it up with oil, garlic & chilli. Went to the kitchen the next morning and it looked horrific- had gone semi solid with 'clouds' of grey/brown muck all through it. I didnt try any and chucked it in the bin. I didnt taste any, which in hindsight was a bad move as i might have been able to diagnose a problem, but looking at them i wasnt able to convince myself to eat one. Pretty annoying after waiting all that time... Any thoughts on what might have gone wrong? It wasnt cold enough for the oil to have solidified- looked like an infection of some sort.
That "grey/brown muck" was just olive oil that's gone viscous due to the cold fridge. It does that when you chill it. Oils are in that family of chemicals called lipids which includes waxes and oils. What are commonly called waxes are lipids that are solid at room temp (like candle wax), and those that are called oils are liquid ar room temp. By putting the olive oil in the fridge you've just made it go halfway towards being a wax. But its stll olive 'oil'. Just looks ugly. Serve some of the olives up and leave them on the bench for half an hour and it'll look fine.
 

stef

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Feldon said:
That "grey/brown muck" was just olive oil that's gone viscous due to the cold fridge. It does that when you chill it. Oils are in that family of chemicals called lipids which includes waxes and oils. What are commonly called waxes are lipids that are solid at room temp (like candle wax), and those that are called oils are liquid ar room temp. By putting the olive oil in the fridge you've just made it go halfway towards being a wax. But its stll olive 'oil'. Just looks ugly. Serve some of the olives up and leave them on the bench for half an hour and it'll look fine.
Yeah, that was one of my thoughts, but it wasnt in the fridge, just sitting on the bench at (winter) room temp.
 

wobbly

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JYO

Interesting web site. Thanks for posting.

My issue just maybe that I haven't always had a top in the fermenting vessel and the above (and my references) state to make sure you screw the top on and as necessary loosen it about ever week to allow CO2 to vent!!

Since I screwed the fermenter top on last week the growth of "fury mould" floating on top of the brine has reduced significantly. So just maybe I have been getting some sort of wild bacteria having a birthday in what ever it is that is produced during the fermentation phase and floats on top of the brine.

Time will tell

Keep the info coming

Cheers

Wobbly
 

jaypes

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My family do this every year (i-ties), here's what we do:

  • Buy olives - we usually get green ones as big as your thumb
  • Wash olives in cold water
  • Either smash them with a small wooden handle (a hammer handle without the hammer works well) or score the length with a knife
  • take out seeds (optional)
  • soak overnight (or 2-3 days if your are patient) in cold water
  • Prepare brine solution - put an egg (not cooked) into a pot and fill with water (as if you were going to hard boil it) and start adding salt. The egg will float when you have enough salt
  • Place olives into jars with the brine solution and place 2-3 fresh lemon tree leaves on the top (optional)
  • Leave 2-4 weeks (depending on how bitter you like the olives)
  • drain the olives and wash with cold water thoroughly, we place them in a salad spinner to get rid of excess water
  • Dress with EV olive oil, fresh garlic and fresh mint

Easy as
 

jaypes

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the white film on top of the jars can sometimes be coagulated oil from the olives themselves
 

jyo

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This is great. Just found myself about 5 kg down near the local river so I'll be a busy boy tonight!

Cheers all.
 

jaypes

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jyo said:
This is great. Just found myself about 5 kg down near the local river so I'll be a busy boy tonight!

Cheers all.
From a seller or off a tree???!
 

jyo

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Off a tree, ya goose! :D

I like the simple approach as you and DB have outlined so will go with that method.

Thinking of doing a few jars with garlic, lemon and rosemary and a couple with fresh chilli and garlic :icon_drool2:
 

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