The Olive Tree – the soul of Spain and its people

The olive tree or “Olivo” as they call it the here, is the common denominator of our village community. The donkey breeders, the hunters, the goat herders, the mandarin growers, the cheese maker, the butcher, you name it, they are all out in the fields tending to their Olivos this time of the year. Here, in Casabermeja, olive picking is a family tradition rather than big business and the season for collecting this amazing fruit starts in November.

 Olive Tree

Olive tree

The well known green olives served as appetizers in all Spanish bars are collected earlier. They are crushed slightly, just enough to split them, before being left to marinate in an earthenware jar. The marinade is made of a mixture of home-made brine and aromatic wild herbs. The recipe is easy, and each one is proud of his or her way of doing it. The jar is then closed and left in a cool dark place for just over a month. After this time they are ready to be served as a traditional tapa along with that lovely glass of Spanish wine.

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‘Una tapa por favor!’

Just when the olives begin to change colour from green to purple, they are considered ready for picking for their oil. Yes, that’s right, green olives and black olives are not two different varieties. Although there are many varieties of olives, they all are initially green before turning purple and eventually black as they ripen.

olive trees

Olive trees

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Green to Purple to Black

Olive picking on a sunny winter weekend, is a family activity for young and old alike. The old and wise show the young and strong how things are done. The picked olives spoil fast if stored, so they must be taken straight to the olive press. ‘La Almazara‘, olive press in Spanish, comes from the Arabic word ‘al-maʿṣara meaning ‘the press‘. There are a few in the area, although my personal favorite is Molino de Hortelano run by a lovely husband and wife team, who are always happy to show you around. It is absolutely worth a visit if you’re in the area during the picking season, which is from November to March.

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Lot’s of olive = Lot’s of liquid gold

Homer, the Greek author was the first who referred to olive oil as ‘Liquid Gold’ in the Odyssey way back in the 8th century BC. Next time while pouring olive oil over your salad, do think of it as liquid gold and remember the long family tradition behind it.

Olive trees

Olive oil, liquid gold

 Olive Trees are the soul of Spain and its people. Here is a trailer for an upcoming artistic movie about a young girl’s journey to bring back to Spain her grandfather beloved two thousand years old olive tree .

El Olivo

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