Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Pick Olives From Your Tree In North Cyprus

DAY 1 OF OLIVE WEEK

Now is the time when olives are ready to be picked in Northern Cyprus, at the end of the summer after the first rains, which is normally late October or early November. Eating olives from your own trees or using the oil pressed from them makes the taste all the more satisfying.  Many olive trees are hundreds of years old, and they are a protected tree in Northern Cyprus. 

Before you start to pick your olives, you need to decide whether you want to cure some of
them, or use them all to make olive oil. Curing means to “crack” the olive and effectively pickle it in salted water, which make a lovely starter or Meze.  If you want to cure some of your olives, you need to pick them slightly earlier, so that they are green, straight from the tree. Green olives are not yet ripe, whereas black olives are ripe and the best for making olive oil. All olives, black, green, squashed or half eaten are fine for making olive oil, as the process sanitises the oil before it is bottled.

Remember – NEVER eat olives straight from the tree, or without processing them first. They are extremely bitter and will probably give you stomach problems.
Things you will need to pick your olives:
  • Tarpaulin or a piece of plastic sheeting
  • Ladder
  • Basket or bucket
  • Broom handle or long stick (optional)
Method One

Spread your plastic under the olive tree. Try to get as close to the trunk as possible, and then spread the sheet out so that it is underneath the branches furthest from the trunk. This will allow you to catch the falling olives from the tree.

Hand pick the under-ripe (green) olives from the tree if you wish to cure your olives. Make sure that they have not been eaten anywhere and that they are not bruised. You can set these aside in a bag so that they are separate from the others that you are going to use for oil. 

To pick olives from the tree, pull them quite firmly from at the base of the olive. Try not to pull off lots of leaves or to damage the tree. Place the olives in a bucket or basket. Use your ladder to reach the upper branches of the trees, ensuring that your ladder is propped against secure, thick branches or the trunk of the tree.