I have one olive tree in my garden, planted near to the rose pergola. It has been pruned by me on advice and multiple photos to a friend in Sardinia, into an open vase shape. So I was extremely proud of it when in its first year it bore a couple of olives, yes two, a few more the next but this year quite a lot. I enjoyed harvesting them and got several, enough to fill 8/9 jars. I found some information on the net and religiously changed the water I had soaked them in for twentyone days. After that journeys up and down to my cellar to bring them into the light and prepare a solution of brine. In the meantime they afforded a hugely enjoyable lesson when my students joked that they would help me; one fed up with her job, would like to help harvest, another said she’d like to do the marketing, still another thought she could design the label. Wow, all for one little tree! Then of, course I forgot about them. I left the olives in the cellar for too long in the first strong brine solution. When I tasted them, they were awful. But wait, maybe it’s just me, I had to stay in the pronto soccorso for 24 hours once owing to lack of salt because I don’t like it and rarely eat it, so maybe it’s just my natural aversion to salt. I waited for my kids to come and they said it wasn’t dramatic but yes, maybe it’d be better to wash them.
So mad searches on internet, frantic phone calls to anyone who knew anything about olives. By now it’s high drama. Then I remembered a dear friend, ex-student and chemist in the food industry. Several telephone calls and text messages later, the olives have been washed and soaked in oligomineral water with a slice of lemon for a couple of days (The lemon to protect from mould), tasted, and when found edible (not just edible actually, but pretty good) they have been put back in their jars in a new less salty brine solution, and will remain in it for the next 20 days when they will be tasted again. Fingers crossed. So now it’s very likely that there will be a new brand of lovingly hand-picked Lesmo olives which will cost the earth. That’s why I think Mr. Saclà needs to look out!