An olive is a small, egg-shaped fruit that grows on an olive tree. Olive trees are popular in warm regions such as the western side of Asia and the Mediterranean Sea. Olives need war, weather and sun throughout the day. Olive trees can grow in just about any type of soil, but they particularly thrive in soil with high limestone content. An olive tree takes about four years to produce its first fruit. There isn’t enough fruit to harvest until they are about 15 years old, which is still young for an olive tree. The average olive tree will leave between 300 and 600 years, although some have lived well over 1,000 years. Green olives and black olives are both extremely common to eat and they have a very different taste. The difference between black and green olives in not the type of tree; the difference is when they are picked. Green olives are unripe, and they turn black when they are fully ripened.

General Information about Cooling and Storing Olives

  • Respiration – Fruits and vegetables respire, which means that they take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide like humans do. Without proper ventilation, fruits and vegetables go bad because the air around them becomes filled with carbon dioxide and they run out of oxygen to take in. Without enough oxygen, they begin to rot. Make sure olives are in ventilated crates.
  • Temperature – When storing olives, you need to make sure that they are at a proper temperature. If they are too warm then they will rot. If the temperature is too cold, then they will be susceptible to chill injury, which involves browning of the skin and a change in the taste. Olives should stored in temperatures between 41 and 50 degrees. Olives can withstand cooler temperatures for short periods of time. The coldest that they should ever be stored is 32 degrees.
  • Relative Humidity – The optimum relative humidity levels for storing olives is about 90-95% This will keep the olives for losing moisture and becoming dry and shriveled.
  • Shelf Life – If olives are stored between 32 and 40 degrees, it can’t be longer than two weeks. After two weeks, the skin browning and pitting will begin. At proper temperatures, fresh olives can be stored for about 6 weeks before they need to be cured.

General Information about Curing Olives

Unlike most fruits, olives do not taste good when eaten right off the tree. They need to be cured or you will be eating a bitter fruit. The way you cure it depends on the type of olive that you are trying to make. Kalamata olives, Greek olives, regular green olives, Spanish olives, and many others are all made just by using a different brine for curing. Some olives are simply water cured, while others are cured in the a pickling brine. First, you slice each olive lengthwise so the brine can penetrate the skin. Next, you soak the olives in water, in a glass or food-grade plastic container for 8 to 10 days, changing the mixture each day. Once they are finished, you have to soak them in a finish brine for a month. The finishing brine consists of pickling salt, cold water, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Other finishing brines are similar; however, some might contain a different kind of vinegar, lemon, garlic and other seasonings to obtain the different taste. Other types, such as Greek olives, will soak in the pickling mixture from the beginning, instead of just cool water for the first 10 days, and then they will sit in the finishing brine for two months.

Methods of Cooling Olives

Forced-Air Cooling – Olives shouldn’t be submerged in water until they are ready to be cured. They also shouldn’t be packed in ice, because olives shouldn’t be stored at below or even near-freezing temperatures. Forced-air cooling is a sufficient way to cool olives. It will allow them to cool quickly without exposing them to pitting and browning skin. With forced-air cooling, they are placed in a refrigerated space surrounded by fans. The fans will push the airflow to the olives and cool them quickly and evenly.

Olives are a delicious fruit that is popular around the world, and Semco knows how important it is to ensure that they are cooled and stored properly. Semco will create an effective cooling system that meets your exact specifications, so you can get your olives from the tree to the table.