ANOTHER EXPERIMENT: OLIVES CURED IN HONEY (GO SO WELL WITH SQUID)

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Geoponica” lists various methods for curing olives…  My second olive -experiment was olives preserved in honey… in two types of honey, actually. 1 kilo of almost ripe olives was cured in thyme honey and 400 grams were stored  in  “bitter” monofloral honey of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo).

No aromatic seeds and leaves were added… but yes, I cut the olives around with a razor blade, sprinkled the same fine salt over them and  4 days later I poured them into the honey…  Yes, storage temperature was the same for all  olive fruits,  however, these ones were totally different from the olives cured in petimezi , which were a complete disaster.  Three months later, the honey treated olives  had a firm crunchy flesh and their nutty, salty taste was a nice complement to the strong taste of  honey.

In my opinion, the honey of strawberry tree works best on olives, though  both ancient Greeks and Byzantines preferred thyme honey …  I was amazed by the  outstanding flavor and the nice hit of bitterness.  Stunning result!

Olives cured in honey go perfect with cheese…. I could not resist the temptation to cook with them, though. Things that we think of as sweet go so well with cephalopods , so I used the olives to make  a filling and sauce for stuffed calamari (squid).

STUFFED SQUID WITH SPINACH, FENNEL AND OLIVES CURED IN HONEY (CALAMARI GEMISTO ME SPANAKI, MARATHO KAI ELIES STO MELI)

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For the filling and sauce I used 30 medium sized  olives cured in honey, pitted and roughly chopped (or 1/2 cup raisins), mixed with 1 large onion (finely chopped), 2 cups of spinach (roughly chopped), 2/3 cup of wild fennel (chopped), salt and pepper.

I  stuffed 1 kg  small fresh, cleaned calamari  with the  filling, leaving a little room for it to expand.   I combined the remaining mixture with 300 gr chopped tomatoes and  1 tbs tomato paste and sautéed it with 4 tbs olive oil. I placed the squids in a casserole  and I  added the sauce, 1/2 – 3/4 cup of virgin olive oil, 4 tbs mavrodapne and water to cover. I covered the casserole and let simmer over low heat for about 45- 60 minutes,  until squid was tender.

 

How to clean the squid, here

 

ΓΙΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΔΩ.

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THE BEST COMPOUND OF OLIVES?

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Geoponica* make it clear that this should be the best compound of olives.
So, I followed the instructions and I used 2 kilos of large ripe olives gathered with the hand.
I cut them around with a razor blade (no, i didn’t use a sharp reed), threw them into a clay pot and sprinkled very fine salt over them.
When salt was dissolved ( it took 4 days) I had some sapa** in readiness in another clay jar.
I added citron leaves, seeds of wild fennel, carnabadium (ethiopic cumin), parsley seeds and seeds of dill and I poured the olives into the flavored, “syruped” grape must. The sapa covered them.
I put a plate on top of the olives to be sure they stay submerged and I sealed the jar. I stored it in the depths of a cool pantry, among several jars with olives preserved with ancient and old fashioned methods.
But things stored at the back can get forgotten….
Yes, I forgot that jar.
5 months later, I found it in the darkness of the almost empty pantry.
The aroma of cumin and fennel hit my nose as soon as I opened it, dill and parsley were barely noticable.
But the taste of the olives was unpleasantly salty- sweet and the texture was mushy and very, very soft … bliah.
Where did recipe go wrong?
Any suggestions are more than welcome.

*Cassianus Bassus is a late 6th – early 7th century author, whose “Eclogae de re rustica” is a compilation of agricultural literature drawing heavily on the work of another Greek compiler, Vindonius Anatolius (4th century). Bassus’ collection was revised by a 10th century unknown Byzantine author under the title Geoponica, in honor of the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. (XXVIII, Geoponika: Agricultural Pursuits by Thomas Owen 1805-06).

**Sapa: grape must, boiled over a slow fire until it had been reduced to 1/3; petimezi.

Olives on Foodista

 

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