In this period, strolling around in Pizarra, you can see people picking up olives. Here, in the Guadalhorce Valley, surrounded by Sierra de la Nieve, you can find the Aloreña olive.
This is the only one in Spain which has the PDO certification (Protected Designation Origin). Moreover, it has the label “Sabor a Málaga” (Taste of Malaga), a brand invented in order to put together all the typical products of this territory (saboramalaga.es). Even SlowFood, the worldwide known italian organization which works to preserve traditional products, speaks about it in its web site.
In Spain, the cultivation of olives, it has been introduced by the Phoenician, famous seafarers and traders, but later the Romans and the Arabs obtained the best profits. The mediterranean weather in the south of Spain, warm and dry for the majority of the year, is perfect for this kind of plantation.
This year, the first harvest, the “verdeo”, started November 21st, but due to warm temperatures the harvest ended between October and November. According to the tradition, to know when the olives are ready to be collected, you have to cut them in halves and the seed must be separated. Some of the most important characteristics of this kind of olives are the “fluctuating seed ”, a seed that is separated from the pulp, and the pulp that is more than the ordinary olives.
The harvest is done by hand and the fruits are placed in baskets, covered with cloths.
After, the olives are pressed to open them a little bit, and put in pickle, a mix of water and salt. To understand how much salt has to be putted in, is used the traditional technique called “egg test”. You have to put a egg in the pickle and add salt until the egg floats.
This kind of olives have a low percentage of oleuropein, the substance that gives a bitter taste to the olives, so it is not necessary to wash them in caustic soda before putting them in the pickle. After three days in this solution, the olives are ready for their consumption or, according to the local recipe, it is possible to add some flavorings like garlic, thyme, fennel and red pepper. In this video you can see the preparation (in Spanish).
The Aloreña olive is sweet, rich and tasty. You can find it only here in our valley! Come to try it!