- Dec 11, 2013Following up a bit on olives, I've been running five cures since late September/early October, and they all seem to be pretty much ready. My previous (generally successful) cures have been drawn from Medieval Islamic or Byzantine sources, and this has been my first effort to use Roman methods. The cures are drawn from two Roman farm manuals: Columella (1st century CE) and Palladius (4th/5th century CE). My observation is that this year's olives seem to be more bitter than what I have used in past years, so the cures have had to run longer -- 8-10 weeks rather than 4-5. Even now I can still taste some residual bitterness in some, but they all have some good flavors as well.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Columella describes what looks like a Roman version of tapenade -- chopped olives herbed with rue and mint -- and I intend to experiment with this recipe. One of the cures from Palladius is interesting because it's the only one I've found that could be considered to use lye -- the olives are cured in a slurry of wood ash and wine or grape must.
If there's interest, I will post the cures, together with the workarounds/substitutions I made for the one or two hard-to-find ingredients.
-- Lon Mendelsohn
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