Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Update on 2012

I'm still here - in case anyone was wondering. I haven't left Italy, but I've had a loooong break ....... For several reasons. Partly because of us moving house last year. Secondly, because now that we've got a fairly large garden there's quite a lot to do. We have fruit trees such as plums, pears, peaches, figs and nespole. And apart from stuffing myself with figs (figs are one of my favourites so I felt like a kid in a candy store....) for three whole months I made jam from all the different fruits and I also made canned fruit for desserts. It was a lot of work all through the hot summer months, but the work pays off. Now I have enough jam and canned fruit to last me all year long...

And then we have olive trees.  85 of them ..... And most of them are really old  and they haven't been pruned for a long time so it looks more like a jungle than an olive grove. Which turned harvesting in to a bit of a nightmare. Luckily I didn't know that beforehand.... But now I understand why olive oil is fairly expensive. (Learning it the hard way, though....)

From 100 kilos of olives you get between 12 -18 litres of oil and as I just said, it's hard work. At least the way we had to do it. Because of the state of the threes we couldn't use the eletric, "vibrating" tool (a type of rake...) that just "shakes" the olives from the three. We had to use manual ones. In fact, the easiest way was to "comb" the branches with our hands - which of course totally destroys your hands. (Also learning the hard way...)

The threes were so difficult to harvest that it took two people (a friend of my husband and me...) more than a month to finish - and then we had been working around ten hours a day.

Anyway, we now have more than 200 litres of liquid "gold" - looking good and tasting even better. The taste is a mix between green apples and grass. And I can tell you that after you've tasted real, homemade olive oil you will never again touch the store bought oil (if you can avoid it, that is...)

So, what are we going to do with well over 200 litres of oil? Well, in addition to giving some to my in-laws we "paid" our helper with olive oil. Here they appreciate the oil more than the money.  And I don't think it will be much of a problem finishing off the rest of the oil. The average Italian uses about 25 litres of olive oil for cooking every year. And although I'm not Italian I can assure you that I'm using as much as anyone else living in this country. In addition to this I've come up with some other ways to make use of this fantastic oil. And I'll tell you how in another posting.

Last year wasn't made just of "jam and olive oil" even though it was - and will continue to be - a large part of my "new life" here in the Italian countryside. I'll be back soon with more updates. So stay tuned ;-))


theromanticrose said...

Mi ricordo di te e sono felice che sei tornata!Baci e buon San Valentino!Rosetta

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Grazie e buon San Valentino anche a te!

Sarah Ager said...

Sounds amazing! looking forward to reading more of your posts. x

Vesle Serena said...

Godt å få noen news fra deg! Det høres helt fantastisk ut å kunne lage egen olivenolje... Jeg kjøper hos bonden i Italia og får det transportert i flere omganger...Alle som skal besøke meg må ta med ekte olivenolje!! :D Å bo på landet er mye jobb, selvsagt, men jeg tror at å jobbe med kroppen gir oss noe mer enn å sitte på et kontor hele dagen. Selv har jeg skaffet meg en liten parsellhage her i Oslo, det er det nærmeste jeg kommer "å bo på landet" . Ha en super vår!

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