Harvest and process of olives
Olives are harvested in autumn and winter. More specifically, green olives are picked at the end of September until the middle of November. Blond olives are picked from the middle of October until the end of November. Black olives are collected from the middle of November until the end of January or early February.
- Most olives today are harvested by shaking the boughs or the tree.
- Another method involves standing on a ladder and "milking" the olives into a sack tied around the harvester's waist.
Table olive varieties are more difficult to harvest, as workers must take care not to damage the fruit; baskets that hang around the worker's neck are used.
In some places in Italy and Greece, olives are harvested by hand because the terrain is too mountainous for machines. As a result, the fruit is not bruised, which leads to a superior finished product. The method also involves sawing off branches, which is healthy for future production.
Olives are naturally bitter fruits that are typically subjected to fermentation or cured with lye or brine to make them more palatable.
Green olives and black olives are typically washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a bitter carbohydrate. Green olives are allowed to ferment before being packed in a brine solution.
Olives can also be flavored by soaking them in various marinades, or removing the pit and stuffing them.