Olive trees are attractive and pleasant in the garden or house, and most bear fruit every year. If you’re wondering whether you can pick and eat the olives on your tree, you’re in the right place. In this article, we talk about olive trees in the UK, whether to eat olives and how to cure them.
Will my olive tree produce olives?
Most olive trees produce fruit of some kind, but not every olive tree makes olives that are edible. The olives produced on the tree depend on the type of tree you have. It’s possible to eat any olives from the branch, but chances are they will taste intensely bitter.
On the other hand, you could grow or buy an olive tree known to bear edible fruit. The best olive tree for edible olives is called Olea Europaea – this is a Mediterranean olive tree that can be bought online or from a garden centre. It’s better to buy an olive tree than to grow it from seed.
Can olives be eaten right off the tree?
If you have ever eaten an olive fresh from the branch, you will have experienced the intense bitterness they have. No matter what olive tree you have, this will be your experience. The reason olives taste so bitter off the branch is that they contain a compound called oleuropein.
Before an olive can be enjoyed, it needs to be cured. The good news is that curing olives is quite easy, but it does take time. Collect the olives from your tree and put them in a jar. Fill the jar with a mix of water and salt to create a brine, and leave it to cure for three to six weeks.
Can you eat olives from olive trees in the UK?
We might associate olive trees with the Mediterranean rather than the UK, but they can make a lovely addition to a British garden. Olive trees are attractive with their small green leaves and brown branches.
Unfortunately, the olives grown from olive trees in the UK taste just as bitter as any natural olive you can find in the Mediterranean. That said, UK olives can be picked and cured, giving you a natural supply of olives in the autumn months. Make sure you know when to pick the olives.
Should I pick olives from my tree?
If you have olives on your UK olive tree, you can pick them and cure them for eating. However, it’s best to make sure the olives are ripe before picking them. Olives are typically harvested in the autumn, but they can be harvested any time between October and December in the UK.
If you are an olive producer or you are making extra virgin olive oil, the time you harvest olives depends on the variety of olives and the climate. If you are a hobbyist or olive enthusiast, you can pick your olives anytime, but it’s still better to wait until the end of the summer or autumn.