Olive plays a fundamental role in Lebanese life, and olive oil has been treasured for generation. The Phoenicians played a major role in spreading this evergreen tree around the Mediterranean. It is presumed that in the North of Lebanon, in a village of Bechealeh you find the oldest olive tree of the world, dating back to 4000 BC.
Lebanon is world renowned for its olives, with Lebanon virgin olive oil being among the most expensive varieties because of its high quality.
Across the country, many towns in between generation of families engage in olive harvesting. Lebanon’s fertile lands and mild climate provide the perfect condition for olive growth.
Pick some olives from the tree. Using a mallet, stone or the bottom of a cup.
With a firm stroke, smash the olives one at a time and place them in a large plastic bowl.
When all smashed wash the olives with clean water and repeat up to 3 times.
Drain using a strainer and then soak with clean water for an hour then strain again well till all the water has drained out of the olives.
Preparing the Brine. You need
1 raw egg
In a large bowl add clean room temperature water and dissolve a handful of coarse salt. Use a raw egg with its shell as a brine barometer. If the egg sinks add more salt. When the egg floats the water is sufficiently salty.
Pack the olives in a clean jar half way squish them down a bit the tighter the better add sliced fresh lemon and red chilli at the corner of the jar then add the rest of the olives tightly to the top.
Pour the Brine over the olives into the jar to the top and pour some olive oil to seal the top. Close the jar and set aside in a dry place. After three to four weeks taste them to see if they are done. If not leave them for another week or so.
Once they are done. Drain the bitter brine off them. Put back in a clean jar and repeat the brine method again. You can also cover them in olive oil . Store them in the cupboard up to a year and enjoy.