The Q&A Archives: Harvesting fruit from an Olive Tree

Question: There's an olive tree in my parent's back yard that is bearing fruit but we do not know much about olives or brining. How do we know the fruit is ready to be picked and how do we brine them?

Answer: If you're making green olives, you pick the fruit when it's green. Otherwise, the fruit is allowed to ripen until it is a deep green (almost black). When the fruits begin to drop from the tree, most will be ripe and ready for harvesting. They bruise easily and can develop mold if not handled carefully. For curing the olives, you'll want to get a copy of University of California Agricultural Sciences's Publication Leaflet 21131. It covers all the techniques in great detail. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office or visit the University of California Agricultural Sciences website.

Best wishes with your project!

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