The Oil Cured Beldi Olive
Like its younger, green self - the Green Beldi - Oil Cured Beldi Olives are grown in Northern Morocco. With their shriveled appearance and chewy texture, they are a product of salt curing.
- The Beldi variety of olive is primarily grown in the Marrakech and Fes provinces of Morocco.
- The Beldi Olive Tree typically bears fruit in five years from planting. Normally, this variety has a medium yield per tree with crop size alternating from larger to smaller volumes from year to year.
- Beldi Olives have many curing applications which lends to an extending harvest period. Weather permitting - the harvest of these olives begins the first week of November and extends through the end of the year.
- Olives selected for salt curing, like the Oil Cured Beldi, are harvested in late November.
- The "oil cured" fermentation of Beldi Olives is actually primarily a function of salt curing.
- The curing process begins as most others with sorting for size and quality. Then, the olives are alkaline treated to decrease the bitter compounds of oleuropein and phenolic.
- The uniqueness of this cure is in the next stage, where the olives are alternately layered between sea salt in 250 kg drums. These drums are "rolled" three times weekly for a period of three months. This process both salt cures the olives as well as dehydrates them through osmosis, giving them their color, texture and appearance.
- At the end of this curing method, the olives are washed, coated with olive oil, and packed in drums.
- The Beldi Olive is naturally ovoid in shape, slightly asymmetric with no nipple present. These traits are difficult to identify when oil cured, as the olive has been dehydrated and has a wrinkled appearance.
- The finished olive is deep dark brown to black in color due to oxidation.
- The appearance is slightly shriveled, but the most significant aspects are both the texture and flavor - Oil Cured Beldis have a chew texture similar to sun-dried tomatoes with a pleasantly bitter flavor and light saltiness.
Did You Know...?
- Oil cured olives get their name because they are "finished" with olive oil. The oil actually has nothing to do with the curing process.
- This type of curing is typical of Southern Mediterranean countries and areas. Greek varieties and some Sicilian olives are cured in this same manner.