The good oil

Olives and their oil have been treasured for centuries, and every year at Mulberry Tree Farm we harvest our olives with great pride. And unfortunately to date, we haven’t had much to celebrate post harvest.

I’ve tried curing buckets of the beautiful, bitter fruit but not with much luck. Hubby suggested we make our own oil so we started researching – at the local cafĂ© in town.

Sure enough we were very lucky to be introduced to a local treasure who is an olive expert and lives two farms down from us. Mr Fratelli came to the Goulburn Valley in his twenties. He fell in love with it, bought a small plot, and met and married a beautiful girl who helped plant the groves. He now has his own olive oil press and supplies the top restaurants in Melbourne with his liquid gold. His oil is so good that he even puts his image and name on the bottle!

We learned from him that certain olives are best for oil, and others are prime candidates for preserving due to the amount of oil they yield. A good oil olive will yield 16% oil. Some olives yield 3% and these are the ones for preserving.

We were shown that pH plays a big part in preserving olives – just add a splash of vinegar to fresh water to keep the olives from becoming mushy.

Some of ours preservers were ready, so they’re in sterilised jars and we’re changing fresh water every day for 10 days before adding that touch of vinegar.

And our oil olives are still maturing, so we’ll leave them a while until we take them down the road for pressing.

So now there’s no excuse for anything but restaurant standard olives … But, just quietly, I might be doing the tasting before putting my name to these!

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