Mid March/April is Olive Time. It’s the time to start picking olives, preparing them and bottling them. It is quite an exciting time and for some, a tedious process of washing the olives twice daily but for me, a daily ritual that I love. You see I love olives, I was introduced to them by my husband. Before that, they were these horrible salty black orbs you picked off of your pizza. Aaah, you nod knowingly…canned Spanish black olives. Truly horrible. The olives my (then to be future) husband introduced me to were Camphill Olives (Steiner method) bought at a farmer’s market. First time went something like this if memory serves me well. “These are olives…but I THOUGHT I didn’t like them? These are so yummy! Move over Beethoven and give me more!!” But I digress, let’s talk Making Your Own Medicine!!
So we planted our own olive trees and have been hand harvesting and bottling our own olives for some years now. Fairly recently we had a HelpXer stay, I call her Queenie. Queenie showed me how to make olive leaf extract by boiling the leaves for about 3-4 hrs on the stove. Given that we run our stove on a small 9kg gas bottle, I have fine-tuned that process to a more sustainable one, by using a pressure cooker. What better time to make olive leaf extract than now, while we are all in COVID 19 Lockdown. It is ridiculously easy, but be warned; it is as bitter as a pill, but then Queenie smiled and said… “Well, it IS a medicine!”
We have about 8 Manzanilla olive trees, but we find that we harvest enough for a year’s supply from just two trees, and as they seem to crop heavily one year and then scarcely the next, we alternate the pickings. I don’t think it really matters what type of olive you have, you can basically use any olive tree to harvest the leaves for making olive leaf extract.
Olive Leaf Extract Recipe
*Pick enough leaves to fill an entire stainless steel pressure cooker. *Cover the leaves with filtered water and bring the closed pot to the boil. *Once it is on a rolling boil, reduce the heat and allow the pot to steam boil for approximately 30-45 minutes. *Turn the heat off and allow the pot to cool down. *When cool, remove the leaves by hand or scoop. *Strain the liquid with a strainer lined with a muslin cloth to catch all the waxy residue from the leaves. *Pour into bottles, label and date and keep in the fridge. Should last 7-10 days.
To use: take 1/4 cup of olive leaf extract ever day 20 minutes before a meal. Mentally prepare yourself for the bitterness, welcoming it into your body with gratitude.
Tip: If you won’t get through the extract in a week, consider freezing the liquid in 1/4 cup sized containers and simply pull one out each morning and allow it to defrost, just in time for a lunch dose.
Stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy People!