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The symbol of joy, happiness, and peace; the olive tree has been cultivated in Mediterranean regions since at least 3000 B.C; it’s even older than the written language. This plant is hardy and easy to care for; there are even groves of olive trees which were planted by the ancient Greeks. These trees are believed to be between two and three thousand years old and still produce fruit to this day.
So if you would like to add a touch of Mediterranean beauty to your British garden, consider one of the trees available on our online store.
Best Practices For Growing Olive Trees
Olive trees need to be planted in well-drain soil and placed in sunny areas. This means that you should never plant them in areas where ground water seeps or where water stands during rainy periods of time. That being said, it’s important to note that the olive isn’t a desert plant, it needs regular watering; otherwise it will dry and die. Ideally it should be well watered in an area that has at least six hours of direct sun a day.
Considering their Mediterranean appearance, they’re surprisingly frost hardy. They’re more than capable of surviving cold weather, only getting damaged by temperatures that are below -10 centigrade. Additionally, it’s worth noting that those who want their olive trees to grow fruit need a two-month period of cold weather where the temperatures are below 10 centigrade. Also, fruit is produced at the tips of the previous year’s growth, so be careful when pruning the plant as excessive pruning will prevent fruit from growing.
When To Pick Your Olives?
When ripe olives will turn black, these can be picked and eaten raw. However, you will notice that they taste very different from olives which are sold commercially. This is because commercial sold olives are usually picked before they ripen, whilst they are green; but then are cured so that the product is safe to eat. Black ripe olives are also sometimes placed through the curing process, which results in the different taste.
Making Olive Oil At Home
If you would like to make olive oil at home, you can do so with either ripe black or unripe green olives, however it is very important that you wash them thoroughly and pat dry the olives with clean paper towels.
The first step is to crush the olives into a paste. It is advised that you use a metal or plastic tool such as a kitchen mallet instead of a wooden one as wood could absorb some of the liquid. Once the olives have been crushed into a paste, the paste needs to be transferred into a tall glass, filling no more than one third of the glass. After filling a third of the glass, add about 30-45ml of hot water into every 250ml of olive paste, stirring the contents of the glass quickly. After this you can blend the mixture to produce an even finder blended paste. Once the oil has sat for around 10 minutes, you should start to see beads of oil along the surface of the olive paste. At this point, cut a piece of cheesecloth approximately twice as large as a strainer, place it over the strainer and cover a large bowl. Then pour the mush into the cheesecloth strainer, wrap it with both sides of the cloth, creating a secure bundle of olive mush paste. Finally, place a weight over the bundle so that it is actually pressed down against the strainer allowing the liquid to drain out into the bowl.
The liquid drained out of the bowl will be a mixture of oil and water; however the oil will naturally separate into its own layer with the oil at the top and water at the bottom.
Need Help? Get In Touch With The Seagrave Nurseries Team
If you have any questions or need advice regarding any of the trees available on our website, our team will be happy to help. You can get in touch with us by calling 01509 621 300.
You can also visit us in person, if you’re local to the Leicestershire area. We can be found at (the land adjacent to) 84 Melton Road, Barrow Upon Soar, LE12 8NX. We welcome visitors from the public Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, and Saturdays from 9am-4pm.