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Olives

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  • Allan Hunnicutt
    I am just wondering what sort of olives the Romans would have had. Would they, for intstance, have had the type of black cured olives that you find in Italian
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 23, 2006
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      I am just wondering what sort of olives the Romans would have had. Would they, for intstance, have had the type of black cured olives that you find in Italian and Greek delicatessens? Or would there have been something like the rather salty green olives that come packed in brine? And what about the very bland Spanish and Portuguese black olives? I think I may have read in Pliny's de re agricultura a bit about olives packed in brine so I assume they had those, but I wonder about the cured olives.

      Vale,

      Allan


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    • ivana ozanic
      There are amphora finds with tituli picti Oliva nigra exdulcis excelens and Oliva alba exdulcis excelens for black and green olives. Exdulcis is the word that
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 24, 2006
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        There are amphora finds with tituli picti Oliva nigra exdulcis excelens
        and Oliva alba exdulcis excelens for black and green olives. Exdulcis is the word that I tried to translate at one point. I am not sure but I think it means without salt.

        Ivana

        Allan Hunnicutt <allanhunni@...> wrote:
        I am just wondering what sort of olives the Romans would have had. Would they, for intstance, have had the type of black cured olives that you find in Italian and Greek delicatessens? Or would there have been something like the rather salty green olives that come packed in brine? And what about the very bland Spanish and Portuguese black olives? I think I may have read in Pliny's de re agricultura a bit about olives packed in brine so I assume they had those, but I wonder about the cured olives.

        Vale,

        Allan


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      • Galefridus Peregrinus
        Following 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
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 11, 2013
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          Following 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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