1. Bernard Preston
  2. Preserving olives
  3. Pit olives

Pit olives

Depipping olives is a very important, yet simple skill.

Pit your olives carefully or expect a hefty dentist's bill. It is simple but must be done diligently or you will suffer.

By Bernard Preston

Talk to anyone coming from the Mediterranean and they will turn up their noses at pitted olives from the shop. This is a skill that you must learn yourself, like shelling pecans, and grinding wheat, or accept that you'll be eating an inferior product; less wholesome and flavourful.

The food processing industry ruins olives just like they spoil pecans and most foods. Going back to basics does take time, and a little effort, but the benefits are vast.

I don't know why, I should ask my Italian friend Aldo but, when industry pits olives, something drastic changes. Rather, do it yourself. It's so simple.

Lay out your olives on a plastic chopping board or something similar. Take a strong glass and, one at a time, use the glass to crush them and squeeze the pit out.

Very important, place the pit in the glass and then pop the olive into your mouth, or a bowl where you might be making olive pâté. Jup, European spelling is interesting, not so?

That way, every single pit will be accounted for; it only takes one to destroy a tooth. And make your dentist happy; his next skiing holiday is paid for!

Pit olives

Olives about to be depitted.

Pit olives is a very basic procedure that every single person in the Mediterranean can do and, we either learn it, or suffer from a cracked tooth.

Use the glass to gently crush the olive and squeeze out the pit.

Count the olives and pits. If you're short, expect a cracked tooth.

Ten olives and the same number of pits.

Depit olives.

There's a laziness I'm afraid in our world that we pay dearly for. We are unwilling to take a few minutes to pit our own olives, crack our nuts, bake bread, and chop and peel the butternut from the greengrocer or garden. Rather we would entrust these chores to a food company that will charge us an arm and a leg, and most likely spoil things in the process.

Sneakily, they'll extract out the vitally important vitamins and fatty acids, which they'll sell to the pig farmer at great profit, and the lignans that prevent metastatic disease of the breast and prostate too.

Are you also too idle to pit olives, bake your own bread and shell pecan nuts? Alas, you'll pay the price. Plan on lots of visits to the doctor and pharmacist. A life without medication is a beauty to behold; believe you me, it's possible. The pharmaceutical industry preys on our laziness and unwillingness to do these chores; and a heap of other fast food.

Now you can turn your pitted olives into pâté or even tapenade by adding some capers. To my mind it's all about enriching the flavours and adding colours to provide the phytochemicals that scientists now have proved will extend our lives dramatically with less chronic disease and pain.

More, these foods taste so much better. Do you take time to savour each mouthful and enjoy dinner mindfully? Many just shovel it down whilst focusing their attention on the television; no point then in pitting your own olives.

Here, if you look carefully, you can see feta cheese, capers, garlic, lemon pulp, a peppadew and olive oil. It's a rich smorgasbord of flavours fit for a king.

Depitted olives tapenade.

Simply now use the stick blender to turn your pit olives into a paste; enjoy it on wholemeal bread and if you insist crackers. The latter have generally been ruined by the food manufacturing industry by extracting all the valuable nutrients from the wheat.

Olives tapenade with capers.

Tapenade with pitted olives may not look like much, but just you wait until you taste it.

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