Last moon of summer, and wild olives

It’s nearly Autumn, or like, what you would call Autumn. Sure enough the olives are turning green, juicy and readying themselves.

You’re talking about the wild ones, the ones no one collect or brag about.

Still, they are aplenty, and the wildlife enjoys them too.

If anyone would want to wait that the fruits got to be black, sweet and ready, you would probably be disappointed, as birds and possums would have cleaned them off the tree before you!

That’s why you pick them green, and pickle them following an old recipe from where you’re from, Italy, which is the same place where this plants are from, the Mediterranean Basin.

foraging for wild olives, Olea africana

Here’s the recipe:

Green olives are more bitter than the fully ripened ones, therefore they need to be ‘washed’ before preserving them.
An old technique involve simple elements: water and salt.
Prepare the green olives by perforating them with a needle or a sharp implement, this will facilitate the exit of the bitter
juices from the fruits.
We then need to immerse the fruits in cold water, for a period that varies from 24 hours to 7 days, depending on how big are the fruits. You will be able to assess when the readiness of the olives by tasting the water, if the water is bitter, the olives are not ready. We will need to change the water regularly, at least daily.
When the fruits are ready prepare the ‘salamoia’ (saltysludge?) by adding 4 tablespoons of salt every litre of cold water.
Another way to determine if the water is salty enough is by inserting a potato or an egg, if either float, the water is ready.
Bring the salamoia with the olives to boil and remove from heat as soon as that happen. Let rest for 12 hours.
Put the olives in jars making sure the salamoia covers them.
You can add here chilly, garlic, lemon wedges, wild fennel or olive leaves.
They would keep for 1 to 2 years.

About info

Diego Bonetto is a multimedia artist living and practicing in Sydney, Australia, and is a key member of artists' collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress. -The SquatSpace collective has been producing ground-breaking events and projects since 2000. The group has been curated in a number of shows both in Australia and overseas. The current initiatives, the Redfern-Waterloo Tour of beauty ( tackle issues of social representation and the politics of space generated by gentrification. -The BigFagPress (BFP) is a publishing facility housed in Wooloomooloo, Sydney. The BFP is a salvaged 4-tonnes Off-set proof press. The press allows for the creation of countless artworks by keen printmakers and self-started publishers. Diego has also been working with WeedyConnection, an environmental art campaign. The project involves an online resource (, short documentary films, cooking shows, blogs, installations, prints, facebook interventions and various site-specific installations in the form of self-guided tours. WeedyConnection tackle the anthropocentric view of what environment should look like. Based on research and data provided by disciplines as far apart as biology, anthropology, paloenthology, social ecology and ethno botany it formulates ethical questions about cultural representation in times of environmental urgency.
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