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Byz-Oliv-Cur-art - 12/23/16


"A Byzantine Olive Cure" by Magister Galefridus Peregrinus, OP.


NOTE: See also the files: olives-msg, Olive-Curing-art, Olive-Cul-Hst-art, Smoked-Olives-art, cooking-oils-msg, nuts-msg, fried-foods-msg, grapes-msg.





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Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



A Byzantine Olive Cure

by Magister Galefridus Peregrinus, OP


NOTE: Olives prepared using this cure will likely retain residual bitterness. Persons who are sensitive to bitter flavors may find them unpalatable; however, having tasted a broad range of commercially available olives, I can state authoritatively that such bitterness falls well within the range of palatability.


This cure is taken from the Geoponika, a 10th century Byzantine farming manual. I have attempted this cure twice; the first time around, it was an abysmal failure: the olives turned mushy and stayed extremely bitter. A friend who tried it that year had the same experience. The second time, I made a change suggested by an attendee at one of my olive tasting classes, including the stems as described below.


Conserve in Must (Florentinus)

Picking white olives, they marinate them in seawater for six days. Then they put them in a jar and pour fresh must in, but they do not completely fill it or the must would overflow in fermenting; after fermentation they seal it. Others put in a handful of salt before the must, and then the olives, and seal it when it has fermented.



Place 3 lbs unripe olives in jar; cover with 3.5% brine (salinity equal to that of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea). Let marinate for six days. Drain and rinse. Take several bunches of Muscat grapes (selected because of the antiquity of the cultivar); crush them and add to olives together with stems. Let sit until fermentation is complete and then seal mixture in a jar. Let sit until cure is complete.


The inclusion of stems in the cure was the suggestion of an attendee at one my olive tasting classes. He thought the anti-fungal and antibacterial effect of the additional tannins present in the stems might prevent the mushiness from developing. This suggestion appears to have been correct, as the olives have remained firm and are only marginally bitter. These olives have an astringent and intense winey flavor that I find quite pleasant.



Dalby, A., tr. (2011). Geoponika: Farm Work. Totnes: Prospect Books. Recipe on page 198

C:\Users\Katie\Dropbox\Medieval stuff\Lon's Olive Pot.png    C:\Users\Katie\Downloads\IMG_0622.JPG


Initial curing (fermentation of grape must) was performed in jar on left. Curing was completed in the sealable jar on right.



Copyright 2016 by Loren D Mendelsohn. 3 Morris Pl, Towaco, NJ 07082. <galefridus at optimum.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org