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My secret baked onions

This is not really a recipe….but it’s the best baked onions you’ll ever have. There really isn’t much to this. All you need is olive oil, and whole onions. You cannot use red onions for this, they get very bitter. You need white or yellow onions, like vadalia and Spanish onions.

Other onions I like are the italian onions:

Onion Tonda Musona Bianca
Onion Rossa Savonese
Onion Ramata di Milano
Onion Dorata di Parma
Onion Borrettana

I recommend Italian Seeds and Tools for these onion seeds.

You will need wild fennel, also from Italian Seeds and Tools.

I pour 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Italian olive oil in a small sauce pan, add in a chopped tablespoon of wild fennel. Then drizzle half of this this over TWO WHOLE ONIONS.  Pop these into the oven, with the tops and roots intact unpeeled. The skin and the top act like aluminum foil. It traps and seals in the juice baking/boiling/roasting it from the inside out, the olive oil browns the outside. I bake two onions for 1 hour.  I’ve done it with up to 6 onions. Once they are come out, they should be wrinkled and brown on the outside and fork tender, like a baked potato. Slice off the tops and bottoms and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. They are as sweet as apples with a intense fennel flavor. Absolutely delicious. If you want, add the sliced tops back onto the onions when you serve them to your guests, they can peel the outside and remove the top themselves providing an interesting eating experiance and they can get that good onion, fennel and olive oil scent that’s been building under the onion top. Soft and delicious. Absolutely delicious give it a try without the fennel and olive oil next time if you’d like to do it without growing any herbs or your own onions.

Everything about olives from tree to oil.

English: Olives in olive oil.

English: Olives in olive oil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know there was some interest of growing olives. So I sat down and compiled a list of the different olive varieties. Next to the name I’ve put their use, olives are like people, they each are different from one to the other, so here I go at trying to list some of the main type of olives. There are many more. There is 6279 names for olives…some are for the same olive, but thats a lot of olives. Somewhere I have a list wich I’ll include with every name of every olive, but right now I’ll talk about the most common ones in the olive industry. I could not begin to be thankful for the olive grove owners who lent their knowledge and help with the list of olives. Sorry that it took a year.

First we need to know which olives to use. Olives come in all shapes and sizes. Each are different. So here’s the list of olives that are grown in the industry for oil, table and for both their oil and the table. There is many other olives. If you find a olive tree you would like to grow, please sit with your local master gardener and discuss weather or not it will grow in your local area and how to test your soil to make sure it will grow without a problem.

I’ve broken it up into sections. 1.1 is a list of common trees. 1.2 is general growing instructions. 1.3 is explaining the different types of oil and characteristics. 1.4 is the different types of extraction methods used to make olive oil. 1.5 is bottles, caps and sealers for botteling.
Section 1.1-Common trees

French olives

Aglandau (Berruguette)- Green when ripe, oil and table, high oil content, hazards are Saissetia oleae, sooty mold, Spilocaea oleaginea Self sterile, medium weight, elliptic-lanceolate leaves, slightly asymmetrical, scientific name olea europaea, also called blanquette, plant d’aix, and verdale du vaucluse, and are most notable in provence in france. Good drought resistence but poor cold resistance. The scent of the oil smells similar to almonds, green apples, and artichokes it varies person to person. There is several APO varieties. (Appellation d’orginine controlee, controlled designation of origin.)

Amellau-ripe when green, uses as table olive and for oil. The oil is delicate, floral, and tastes like roses. They are low yeilding, it has a meaty texture. It is often used to augment an oil, or to add to a mix of olives.

Bouteillan-used for oil. The tree is know for a strong vigor with dense erect growth. The fruit is large, ovoid, slightly asymmetrical. High oil content, and the fruit is clingstone. Hardy variety, but needs light, frequent pruning and irrigation. They grow fast, and produce high and constantly. Ripening time is in the middle for time. Self compatible, but need pollenators, such as grossane and cayon. Good resistance to cold, sensitive to olive flies, scales, and moths. Blended with other varieties from provence.

Cailletier (Niçoise)-Edible, but also used for oil. The tree is large downward drooping branches. Main variety found in the alps near nice in france. The olives are small ovoid, high oil content, cured black. The oil is delicate. Best grown from cuttings, decent bearing, but constant. Good cold resistance, but olive flies, and olive scale and olive knot are it’s biggest threat. It is also grown in liguria italy. In italy it is known as taggiasca, but in france maybe called cayet, cayon, grassenc, olivier de grasse, pendoulier, and pleureur. The olives are very light. The stone has a round apex and base with a rugged surface. The oil is best when harvested till mid november, for table they are best before may. It gives 20-25% oil by weight. The oil is sweet and delicate, taste of fresh almonds and hazelnut. For strong more bitter oil harvest before the end of the year. It is biennial bearing. Starlings love the tree. High drought resistance.

Cayon- A good strong growing tree, self sterile, with medium weight. The oil extraction gives 18-22% the weight of the olive. The flavor is fruity and balanced with a soft finish of almonds. High to medium oil content. It is biennial bearing, and the rooting ability is medium to high. Vulnerable to cold but good at sustaining drought.

Cipressino-is a vigorous upright tree, getting its name from its similarity to the habit of the pencil-like Italian cypress. It is a very hardy tree and shows good resistance to coastal conditions but will require a pollinator to produce an abundance of black olives that are best suited for fine olive oil. 2-5 grams at maturity. Yeilds 15-17% of it’s weight in fine light oil. November to the middle of december. Cipressino is the french name for the italian frangivento, hailing from puglia italy. Excellent resistance to salty winds, good resistance to climatic extremes and parasites. has a tendency to grow upwards in the sense of forming a column with branches and shoots that grow straight up. This characteristic, combined with a marked resistance to salty winds, has made this variety one used primarily for windbreaks.

Germaine- Has a good oil yield resistant to the cold. Black when right also called a romana olive. Eaten at the table or as an oil. Low oil content, medium weight. The stone is rounded, smooth surfaced. The oil yeild can be very high, 30% or more. Good constant production, smell of the oil is like that of a mumpkin peel, yet creamy and intense.

Grossane-Black when ripe, oil and table olive with low oil content. Self sterile. Heavy olive. Middle strength tree. Rounded rough surface stone. Used mostly as a table olive, with a sweet taste. The stone is a free stone, it does not cling the flesh, it is a poor oil yeilding olive. Though it has a delicate flavor citrus aroma and slight fruitiness, some say it tastes like tomatoes though. Productivity can be improved by irrigation and fertilization, though has poor rooting ability and is usually grafted. It need boutellian and aglandau to fertilize. Low resistance to pests, but high susceptiblity to cold and drought.

Lucques-Delicious little table olive, originating in herault, and lucca italy, Known by many names in many different countries. They need are a late bearing tree. With medium oil content. The oil smells of almonds, green apples, and tomatoes, debating on the person. A high rooting ability, average harvest time, but is a good biennial. It alternates some seasons it’s great other seasons it’s not so good. Relitively cold resistance and high drought resistance. It is sterile and needs pollinators, Late october beginning of november is when to pick them. The skin is a light green and matures in december, and will be a deep green. The olive is meaty and sweet, similar to almonds and avocados. It will only yield 17% of it’s weight in oil. The taste to some is excessively sweet. The stone is pointed at both ends with few grooves.

Olivière-delicious olive used for oil and on the table. It is believed to of come from the orientales. Strong vigourus tree, it is sterile so it needs pollinator. They are heavy olives. The olive is low in oil content. Reguardless of it’s low yield precentage the tree has a large number of them, when ripe their black. It yields 13-15% of the oil by weight. A adult tree, can yeild 220 lbs of olives a year!!!! The oil smells fruity, almondy, and fresh apricots with a hint of spicy green mint. Pollinators are cayon, picholine, verdale and arbequine. It’s got a very low pest resitance. Some of the trees in france are 400 years old, surviving the harsh winter of 1956, when most french olive orchards were obliterated, so it has a exceptional resistance to the cold.

Picholine- The green martini/cocktail olive…the ones that are lye cured -gasps-. It can be eaten, and is used as an olive oil. It is partially self fertile, but has a low/medium oil content, and weighs between 3-5 grams. Egg shaped olives. The stone is pointed at both ends, smooth surfaces. Harvested october and november while still green for table olives, and picked later on for olive oil once they’ve turned….greener. The time of harvest for the oil depends on the grower. Earlier harvests yield a fruity taste, when harvested later it’s more sweeter. They are best brined, slightly salty. Normally they will yield 20-22% the weight in oil but can also produce as little as 15-18% it’s weight in oil. The oil is normally fruity with a hint of bitterness. Vulnerable to the cold, and vulnerable to pests. Since it is only partially self fertile, it takes advantages of pollinators, the bouteillan, leccino, lecques, manzanilla and sigoise.

Sabine-It yields an exceptional amount of oil, more then 30% it’s weight. It’s black when ripe. Used as a table olive, but it’s a light olive. The oil smells of ripe and green fruit with a hint of nuttiness. Good productive fruit, good rooting ability, but it tends to be biennial. Low resistance to pests, but good susceptiblity to cold weather.

Salonenque-Used mostly as a table olive but good for oil too with a high oil content, medium to heavy weighted olive. The stone is wrinkled, and rounded at it’s point, but pointed at it’s base if that makes any sence. It is bright green when mature, harvested around september 10th for the table, and early november for oil. It’s lovely for making cracked olives. They are fresh and firm meaty texture with a whiff of fennel when cured. It will weild 22-25% it’ weight in oil. The oil is sweet delicate and very strong. The stone is a free stone, it does not cling to the flesh. High and constant production, poor rooting ability, and uses grossane and berrugette for pollinators. High resistance to pests with the exception of the grubs of the olive moth and the olive fruit fly. Good cold resistance but highly sensitive to the wind.

Tanche (Nyons)-Is said to of been introduced to france by the greeks of massilia around the fourth century bc. Also called perle noire, black pearl of provence! Very rarely survives outside of drome and northern vaucluse in southern france. Medium vigours tree, used as a table olive and for oil. It is violet black when mature. When harveting, it is best for smaller sizes in late november, but if you want larger olives, it is better to wait until deember or january. Produces 22-25% of it’s weight in oil, and the weight is generally 5-6 grams. Smooth taste smells of crisp green apples and freshly cut grass, very sweet taste is usually indicative of a late harvest. Later picked olives give the oil more character. Olive oil containing 95% tanche is labeled as appellation of nyons since 1994 it was given protected status. They are commonly used to make tapenade. Slow to produce, but one producing it is a high producer. It needs pollinators, and commonly the cayon is used to fill that need. Today there is roughly 230,000 trees wich produce 400 tons of table olives and 200 tons of oil!!!!! Vulnerable to some pests, but it is mainly susceptible to the wind with a decent cold resistance.

Zinzala-Used stictly as a oil olive. It’s got a low oil content. Othen then that, I don’t know much about this olive. I do know it is grown in bonifacio, corse, corse-du-sud, and olmato france. It is also called zingala.
Greek olives

Adramitini-used for oil, and many diffrent names depending on where it’s grown. It is cultivated in, the aegean islands, evvoia, khios, kriti, lesvo, and mitilene. A average weighted fruit. With a large stone size. Average vigorous tree. The tree I believe needs pollinators, wich ones I am not sure. It has a high oil content comprised of a high linoleic acid, a medium oleic and palmitic and stearic acid, with a low amount of palmitoleic acid. With low medium rooting ability. It’s biennial. It is succeptible to olive flies, and psuedomanas syringae (a bacteria, with this bacteria, the plant can freeze at fairly high temps (29 degrees f), due to INA proteins thu damaging the plants. Intersting fact, sometimes P.syringae has been found in the center of hail stones!) It has a medium cold susceptibility.

Amigdalolia-Used mostly for oil, it is also a table olive. With a heavy weight, large stone, this olive belongs to a tree of average vigour. The oil content varies, generally half the olives will provide a high oil content. They will be constant but may also alternate, they are medium rooting. It is highly succeptable to the olive fly.They have a moderate cold susceptibility..

Amphissis- Used for both oil and eating, a tree grown in greece, china america and syrian arab republic, with many names in albania, cyprus, iran, israel, greece, egypt, lebanon, italy, the us, spain, ukraine, china and australia.They produce a large olive, with a stone mucro and a moderate amount of grooves on the stone. A tree of strong vigour. Medium to high oil content, self incompatible, generally with a low rooting ability. The tree generally is biennial. High susceptibility to the olive fly, Camarosporium Dalmaticum (fungus), Mycocentrospora cladosporioides (a cryptogamic disease), Pseudomonas syringae (bacterial infection), Pseudomonas syringae (fungus), and Verticillium dahliae (a disease). Generally they low resistance to drought (2/3 trees), 3/7 trees have a high cold resistance, with 4/7 having a low cold resisting, 1 in 2 trees have a high salinity resistance, with 1 in 2 trees only being moderate salinity resistance.

Chalkidikis (Chondrolia)- Another greek olive that is dual purpose. Grown in spain, greece and here in the united states. The olive is heavy with a large stone and a moderate number of grooves with a stone mucro belonging to a tree of strong vigour. The tree is partially self compatible and is a very late first fruiting tree. The olives have a moderate oil content. Induced rooting for 1/3 trees is high, while 2/3 will be moderate. They are an intermediate alternating biennial. I’ve never heard of any biotic stressors for this tree. With low drought resistance, 1/3 trees has a high cold resistance while 2/3 trees will have a low cold resistance, but have high salinity resistance.

Daphnoelia- A dual purpose olive usually used for olive oil, grown only in greece. A medium sized olive, with a large stone with a moderate number of grooves in the stone, belonging to a tree of medium vigour. The olives have a moderate oil content, and are good bearing alternating biennial trees. Another tree that to my knowledge does not have any biotic stressers with a low susceptiblity to soil moisture.

Doppia- A olive tree I know nothing about, it’s grown specifically in greece and the greece agriculteral expert told me, these are a specialty tree, grown only in greece and only for the oil. I was also told it is not doppia, it is dopia, also known as patrai, or zachintos. A medium vigour tree, that it is susceptable to the olive fly. They will not tell me anything else about the tree short of moving to greece and beginning my own olive orchard, they did boast that they have 13 trees planted in greece for every 1 person. They did not elaborate if thats just dopia, with 132 million trees I suspect it’s probably every olive on this list.

Frantoio-“FRANTOIO” is found also as synonym of others cultivars, please see also: RAZZO, CORREGGIOLO DI MONTEGRIDOLFO, CORREGGIOLO DI VILLA VERUCCHIO, GORGAZZO. That being said, they are used only as oil. Low flower ovary abortion, the olive is at it’s maximum diameter towards the apex and 3/4 olives are rounded near the apex, 1/4 are subonical. The base maybe depressed, rounded, tapered, or truncated. This gives them an elliptic shape. The fruit flesh to pit ratio is moderate, 16/17 olives are medium in weight, 1 out of 17 will be small. The stone is usually rugose. The stone maybe elliptic or ovoid. The tree’s canopy is usually dense and drooping. 15/24 trees have a strong vigour, 9/24 will only have medium vigour. When fruiting shoots appear there will be lots of “tree feathers”. The tree is usually 46 out of 59 trees are self compatible, 9 partially self compatible, and 4 will be self incompatible. As far as trees go they got a moderate flowering length. When harvested 5/9 will be green with red spots, 2/9 will be turning black, 1/9 will be black skin and half the pulp will be black as well. They alternate between a weak and a moderate number of olives dropped. They generally begin fruiting early, 2/3 will have a moderate flesh consistancy with a moderate flesh to pit ratio. The fruit is generally late from full bloom to turning black with the maximum oil content early in the season. They gradually turn black, and the oil maybe green/yellow, intense-green, or yellow. The dw oil content is medium, while the fw oil content is medium to high. They are eay to extrat oil from and provide excellent quality oil. The oil may smell of almonds, aromatic-grass, artichoke, fresh cut grass, floreal, fruity, green apple, or tomatoy. The oil taste is usually pungent, but may also be bitter and sweet. Generally they have a high rooting ability, and are a medium to late harvest tree. Out of 62 trees, 42 will be good constant bearing trees, 14 will be good biennial trees, 3 will be moderate constant producing trees, and 3 will be moderate biennial trees. The time of flowering is generally late. They are highly susceptible to the olive fly, armillariella mellea, high resistance to camarosporium dalmaticum, high susceptive to fomes fulvus, moderate gloeosporium olivarum resistance, high susceptible to moloidogne inconita, high susceptible to mycocentrospora cladosporioides, moderate resistance to palpita unionalis, highly susceptible to pholeotribus carabaeoides, high susceptible to pratylenhus vulnus, moderate to high susceptible to prays oleae, highly susceptible to pseudomonas syringae, high susceptible to rosellinia necatrix, high susceptible to the following as well rotylenchulus macrodoratus, sissentia olea, spilocaea oleginea, tylenchulus semipentrans, 50-50 chance the tree is susceptible to verticillium dahliae, and highly suceptible to the virus SLRV. A tree highly susceptical to air humidity, cold, drought, fog, high salinity resistance, high susceptability to wind and soil moisture. (And my arms hurt along with my hands lol)
Kalamata (olive)- Dual purpose olive, medium number of grooves on the pit, large stone size, medium to high olive weight to a strong vigourous tree. Self incompatible, medium to high oil content, providing good olive oil. Low rooting ability, but a good biennial tree none the less. Highly susceptible to aspidiotus hederae, parlatoria oleae, sissetia oleae, with wild results on resistance to spilocaea oleaginea. medium to low bactrocera oleae susceptiblity, moderate camarosporium dalmaticum, and low susceptability to pseudomonas syringae. High susceptible to the cold, and wind, moderate soil moisture susceptiblity and low susceptibility to salinity.

Kalokerida-used only for oil, a strong vigour tree, with medium sized stone. high oil content and self incompatible. High susceptibility to olive flies. I don’t really know about environmental though.

Karidolia-dual purpose olive. Large sized stone, a tree with a good strong vigour. Low oil content, but medium rooting ability and partially self compatible. Susceptible to pseudomonas syringae, highly cold susceptible.

Kolovi-dual purpose but mostly used for oil. A tree with strong vigour. The olive has a high oil content, moderate alternating biennial tree. Partially self compatible. High suscptibility to verticillium dahliae and low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae. It’s true name is valanolia, kolovi is a synonym.

Konservolia- A dual purpose olive that is mostly used and prised for a table olive. A strong vigourous tree. The olive is moderate to heavy in weight. Medium to high oil content, with mixed rooting ability, 3/5 are poor, 1/5 is moderate, 1/5 is high. Naturally it has poor rooting ability. The tree is usually a good to intermediate biennial. High susceptibility to olive flies, spilocaea oleaginea, verticillium dahliae, with moderate camarosporium dalmaticum and myocentrospora cladosporioide susceptbility, with mixed results varying from moderate to low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae. High susceptibility to cold 3/7 trees, while 4/7 trees are low susceptibility. moderate to low dought susceptibility, and high to moderate salinity susceptibility.

Koroneiki-Grown only for it’s oil. Small sized stone moderate vigour tree. Mixed results on oil content 6/13 are high, 5/13 are low, and 2/13 are medium. Generally medium rooting ability, but 1/5 will be high, 1/5 will be low. 3/5 trees will be a good bearing biennial, and 2/5 will be good constant bearing trees. Trees will be 50/50 susceptibility to olive flies. Moderate susceptibility to camarosporium dalmaticum, high susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae and low susceptibility to spilocaea oleaginea.Highly susceptible to cold, moderate drought susceptiblity, moderate to high salinity susceptibilty, and low win susceptibility.

Kothreiki-Dual purpose olive. A large stone belonging to a tree of strong vigour.Olives are medium to heavy in weight. Self compatible with varying oil content half the time its high or medium. With high rooting ability good bearing biennel. Low cold susceptibility, medium susceptibility to salinity, and low suscptibility to wind.

Koutsourelia-grown for the oil. Small stone tree with strong vigour. High oil content and self incompatible so needs a polinator is needed. Beyond that I don’t really know much.

Lianolia Kerkyras-Tree of strong vigour grown for it’s oil. Small stone. Partially self compatible. 2/3 olives have a high oil content, 1/3 will produce a more moderate amount. Poor rooting ability, yet a good constant bearing tree. Highly susceptible to armillariella mellea, and the olive fly. Highly susceptible to soil moisture, yet low susceptibility to cold, drought, salinity, and wind.

Manaki- This is rarely used as a dual purpose olive, but is prized for its oil. Grown only in cyprus and greece. This is another olive tree that I know next to nothing about other then this.

Mastoidis (Tsunati)- Dual purpose olive yet used primarily for olive oil. A tree of only medium vigour and a medium sized stone. A medium sized olive usually of high oil content. Moderate rooting ability, and moderate bearing biennial. Highly susceptible to the olive fly, prays oleae (olive moth), and spilocaea oleaginea. Low susceptible to pseudomonas syringae. Highly susceptible to salinity, but low to cold and drought.

Megaritiki-mostly a dual purpose olive. Medium vigour tree,.stone size, and olive weight. Self incompatible, usually high oil content but some are low producing. High rooting ability though sometimes it’s moderate, 50/50 chance of it. 50/50 chance of it being a good bearing biennial, or a moderate bearing biennial. Highly susceptible to licthensia viburni,moderately susceptible to liothrips oleae, highly susceptible parlatoria oleae, low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae, moderately susceptible to saissetia oleae (black scale) and verticillium dahliae.

Thassitiki (Throumbolia)-used mostly as a table olive but it’s a dual purpose olive. Strong vigourous tree with large stone. High oil content, partially self compatible, moderate bearing biennial. Moderate susceptibility to salinity.

Vasilikada-a dueal purpose olive though it’s more commonly a table olive. A tree with only moderate vigour, the fruit is heavy, with a large stone. Partially self compatible, with low to moderate oil content. It is a poor bearing biennial. High susceptability to olive flies, Pseudomonas syringae, and a low susceptability to spilocaea oleaginea. Low susceptibilty to cold, yet is highly drought susceptibile.


Ascolana Tenera-HISTORICALLY call piceno. It is mostly a table olive but can also serve a dual purpose. A large scabrous stone sits inside this olive with a high flesh to pit ratio and moderately heavy to a heavy weighted olive. The branches are erect with a dense canopy. Most of the time the trees has a strong vigour, but 1 in 9 trees will only be moderately so. The internode length is moderate.Internode length meaning the stem is divided into sections where leaves are or were attached called nodes, and internodes the length of the stem between the nodes. The leaves and stems together make up the shoots. The stone is elliptical in shape. The trees are self incompatible mostly (26/40), self compatible (11/40) leaving the remaining 3/40 partially self compatible. They usually begin fruiting late in the season. The fruit tend to gradually turn black. The oil is usually greenish yellow, but maybe green. The oil content varies, 12/25 and 12/25 will be low in oil or contain moderate oil content. The oil is usually exellent. It may smell of almond, aromatic grass, artichoke, cut grass, fruity, green apples, or tomatoey. The oil is usually bitter pungent and sometimes sweet, wich means it is usually mixed with other oils. There is a 50/50 chance it will have a moderate to high rooting ability. It i a tree that requires an early harvest. Most of the time it is a good bear biennial, but may be a moderate biennial, a moderate constant bearing tree or a poor biennial. Susceptible to olive flies, camarosporium dalmaticum, gloesporium olivarum, meloidogyne incognita, meloidogyne javanica, olive moths, pratylenchus ulnus, rotylenchulus macrodoratus, sissetia oleae, spilocaea oleaginea, stictis panizzei, tylenchulus semipenetrans, verticillium dahliae, and the SLRV virus. Moderate to low susceptibility to fomes fulvus, most trees are low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae, low susceptibility to sooty molds, and a low susceptibility to the CuMV virus. 71% chance the tree is not susceptible to cold, vrs 1% that it is, and 14% for a moderate susceptiblity to cold. Moderate drought susceptibility, and low susceptibility to iron chlorosis (guess the tree needs to stop de liver…ok I been at this for weeks so little humor is needed)

Biancolilla-used mainly for oil, but can be used as a table or dual purpose olive. Medium to weak vigours tree with dense canopy the olives are of medium high weight. Partially self compatible, 10/15 trees, 2 out of 15 are self compatible, and 3/15 are self incompatible. The flesh has a low consistancy when ripening, the oil produced is green/yellow. With medium low oil content. The oil smells of almonds artichoke or fruity. Generally bitter sweet in flavor. The rooting ability is variable 1/3 between high low and moderate, but is a good bearing biennial. Low susceptibility to armillariella mellea (fungus), highly susceptible to the olive fly, high susceptible to euphyllura olivina (type of insect), low susceptibility of fomes fulvus (dry rot), moderate susceptibility to mycocentrospora cladosporioides, high susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae, and a variable susceptibility to olive moths, out of 10 trees 3 will have a high susceptibility, 2 will have low, and 5 will have a moderate susceptibility. Moderately susceptibile to air humidity, moderate to low cold susceptibility, 1/3 will be drought susceptible, and 2/3 will be low. Low susceptibility to fog and highly susceptible to wind.

Bosana-dual purpose usually a oil olive. The tree is of moderate vigour with spreading tree branches. Olives are of medium weight. 11/14 trees are self incompatible, 1/14 is self compatible, and 2/14 are partially self compatible.The flesh ha a high consistancy at ripening. The color of the oil is greenish yellow, the oil content varies, but generally is medium high. The oil smells of almond, artichoke, cut grass, fruity, green apple, or tomato. The oil is usually bitter and pungent in taste but may also be slightly sweet. Usually high rooting ability, an good constant bearing tree but may also be biennial 4/15, or moderately constant 3/15. Moderate susceptibility to olive flies, and olive moths, mycocentrospora cladasporioides, high susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae in 1/5 trees, but 4/5 will be low susceptibility, with high susceptiblity to spilocaea oleaginea, and highly susceptible to verticillium dahliae. Generally mixed susceptiblity to the cold, 2/8 will be high, with 3/8 being low to medium. Moderately drought susceptible.

Cima di Bitonto-used strictly for oil.They are a medium olive with a large smooth stone. Branches maybe drooping and or spreading. The canopy is moderately dense a tree of strong vigour, but 1 out of 5 maybe moderately vigours. The flesh of the olive is very constistent at ripening. They are self incompatible 7/11, while 3/11 is self compatible and 1/11 is partially self compatible. The oil color maybe green-moss, green yellow, intense green, and yellow. The dw oil content (dry weight) is rather medium. The Oil content (fruit weight) is medium to high. The oil may smell like almond, aromatic-grass, artichoke, berry fruits, cut grass, fruity, apples, green apples, hay like and tomatoes. The taste a majority of the time will taste pungent, but may also be bitter, fatty or sweet. With a high rooting ability, this tree is a good bearing biennial, but may also be good and constant, morderate bienniel or a poor bearing biennial. Highly susceptable to olive flies, leparod moths, medium to high olive moths, sooty molds, pseudomonas syringae, moderate meloidogyne incognita (type of nematoad), fomes fulvus (dry rot), prays oleae, and moderate amarosporium dalmaticum susceptiblity. Medium to high cold susceptibaily along with high wind susceptibility and low drought susceptibility this is one tree that’s hard to grow.

Coratina-Primairly used for oil but is dual purpose. It’s a medium olive, with a large rugose pit. The canopy is mildly dense, with spreading branches, and of medium vigour. 70% of trees are self incompatibly, 20% are self compatible, and 8% are partially self compatible. The oil colour is greenish yellow. Generally high oil content to fruit weight. The oil smells of almond, aromatic grass, artichoke, cut grass, fruity, or tomatoey. Most of the time it’s a bitter pungent tasting oil but some may find it sweet. A medium-high rooting tree, usually a good constant bearing tree or a good biennial, sometimes it’s only moderately bearing biennial. Susceptible to olive flies, dry rot, olive moths, sooty moulds, zeuzera pyrina, saissetia oleae, pseudomonas syringae, while moderately susceptible to mycocentrospora cladosporioides, phytophthora spp, verticillium dahliae, and gloeosporium olivarum (type of fungus), with low susceptability to meloidgyne incognita, and meloidogyne javanica. Out of 39 trees, 4 will be highly susceptible to cold, 28/39 will be low susceptible, and 7 only moderately susceptible. Moderately susceptible to drought and fog, low-medium susceptibility to salinity, but highly susceptible to wind.

Itrana-A lovely dual purpose olive, only 20% are made into oil. A medium high weighted fruit, belonging to a tree of medium to strong vigour. 90% of the trees are self incompatible, 2 will be self compatible. The oil is a green yellow, the oil content varies but a majority of them will have a moderate amount of oil compaired to the fruits weight. The oil smells of almond, artichoke, berry fruits, cut grass, fruity, or tomatoey. A bitter pungent oil some will find it a bit sweet. Medium high rooting ability, mostly a good yet constant bearing tree, but may be moderately or good bienniel. Most trees have a medium to high susceptiblity to olive flies, dry rot, gloeosporium olivarum, saissetia oleae, and sphaeropsis dalmatica (fungus), medium to low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae, moderate susceptiblity to mycocentrospora cladosporioides, and a mixed variety of susceptibility to spilocaea oleaginea, 2/8 will be highly susceptible, 5/8 will be low susceptibility, and only 1 out of 8 will be moderatly susceptible. Moderately drought susceptible, highly fog susceptible, 50/50 wind susceptiblity (high-low), and out of 18 trees, 3 will be high susceptibility to the cold, 11/18 will be low susceptible, and 4/18 would be moderately susceptible.

Madonna dell’impruneta-An oil olive, with medium vigour. self incompatible high-low oil content (3/4 will be low), fruity smell, pungent and sweet. High rooting ability. Good biennial tree, or moderately biennial, but may also be a poor bearing biennial. Low susceptibility to moderate to spiloaea oleaginea. 6/9 trees will be low cold susceptibility, with 1 being moderately so, and 2 highly so.

Oliva Majatica di Ferrandina (maiatico)-Generally a dual purpose olive, yet sometimes used as a table olive. A medium-strong vigourous tree with moderate to heavy olives. Self incompatible 10/17, 6/17 will be slf compatible, an 1/17 will be partially self compatible. The oil is an intense-green, fruit weight they will usually have a high oil content. The oil may smell like almonds, aromatic-grass, artichoke, cut grass, fruity, or tomatoey. The oil tastes bitter and pungent. With a medium high rooting ability, the trees maybe good bearing or moderately bearing bienniels. Highly susceptible to olive fly, pseudomona syringae, saissetia oleae, venticillium dahliae, spilocaea oleaginea, and to quadrospidiotus perniciosus (a insect called the san jose scale), with a mixed susceptiblity to cold (equally 2/6 trees will be susceptible to cold, moderately so or lowly), highly susceptible to drought and fog.

Nera di Gonnos-a dual purpose olive grown only in italy. A tree that is usually medium vigour, but a 1 in 6 chance to be a strong vigour tree. They are mix fertility. 1/6 being self incompatible, 3/6 self compatible and 2/6 being only partially self compatible. They have a medium oil content baised on fruit weight. The oil smells of cut grass and fruity, yet the taste is bitter and pungent. Medium induced rooting ability, the trees are biennial, with a good or moderate bearing. Medium to high susceptibility to the olive fly. Highly susceptible to olive moths, pseudomonas syringae, and Spilocaea oleaginea.

Nera di Oliena-another dual purpose olive grown only in italy. 60% of them go to oil, and 40% are dual purpose. The tree is usually medium vigour but 1 in 3 maybe strong vigour with spreading branches that produce heavy olives. Half the trees are self incompatible or partially self compatible. With a highly consistant flesh when ripe. The oil may be green-moss, greenish yellow, intense green, or yellow in color. The olives vary between medium and high oil content based of fruit weight. The oil smells of almonds, aromatic grass, artichoke, berry fruits, cut grass, fruity, green apple, hay like, tomatos. The oil is bitter, fatty, pungent and sweet in flavor. The tree is often a good bearing biennial, but also maybe a moderate bearing biennial. Moderate susceptibility to olive flies, olive moths, and gloesporium olivarum, with moderate to high susceptiblity to spilocaea oleaginea. This tree has a mixed susceptiblity to cold, 1/3 trees maybe high, low or moderate susceptiblity.

Nocellara del Belice-primarily a table olive, but may also be dual purpose. Producing a heavy weight olive from a moderately dense canopy and spreading branches from a tree of medium vigour. Self incompatible tree. Greenish yellow or intense green color oil. The olives are usually moderate oil content by fruit weight, 18/27 will be moderate, 2 will be low, and 7 will be high in oil. The oil smells of almonds, aromatic-grass, artichoke, cut grass, fruity or tomatoes. The oil is bitter, pungent and sweet. Usually a good constant bearing tree, but maybe a good bearing biennial, or moderate consant bearing. Usually a moderate susceptibility to olive flies, and olive moths. A high susceptibility to fomes fulvus, mycocentrospora cladosporioides, pseudomonas syringae, and verticcillum dahliae. Moderate suscptibility to air humidity, and cold, highly drought susceptible, highly susceptible to fog, salinity, and wind.

Olivo Quercetano-used only for oil. Self incompatible. They have a moderate oil content to fruit weight, with low rooting ability. They maybe a good bearing biennial, moderate bearing biennial, or a good constant bearing tree. Moderate susceptibility to olive flies, highly susceptible to Pseudomonas syringae, and moderate susceptible to spilocaea oleaginea. Highly susceptible to the cold.

Pendolino (Olea europaea ‘Pendolino’)-another olive used just for the oil. Medium weight olive, tree that maybe medium, strong or weak (3/6, 1/6, 2/6), with drooping branches. The oil is greenish yellow, with moderate to high oil content based on fruit weight. (5/19 high, 14/19 moderate). The oil smells of almonds, aromatic-grass, artichokes, cut-grass, or fruity. The taste maybe bitter pungent or sweet. The rooting ability varies from low, moderate, and high, (1/11 low, 6/11 moderate, 4/11 high). The tree maybe a moderate or good yeilding tree with a constant bearing of fruit. Moderate to high susceptiblity to olive flies, moderate tolerance to olive moths. Highly susceptible to sooty molds, spilocaea oleaginea, pseudomona syringae, phloeotribus scarabaeoides (known as murettu), verticillium dahliae, and moderate susceptibility to stictis panizzei (type of fungus). Trees have a mixed susceptiblity to cold. 11/25 high cold susceptibility, 10/25 moderate cold susceptibility to cold, 4/25 low cold susceptibility.

Pizz’e carroga-A dual purpose olive.Heavy olives, belonging to a tree of moderate vigour with spreading branches.Mixed fertility, 8/13 partially self compatible, 4/13 self compatible, 1/13 self incompatible. 7/10 olives have moderate oil content by fruit weight, 3/10 will have a low oil content. The oil smells fruity, or like green apples. The oil tastes bitter and pungent. They have a 50/50 moderate-low rooting ability. They are biennial trees, with mixed bearings, good moderate or poor bearing. Highly susceptible to olive flies and olive moths, also highly susceptible to P. Syringae, and S. Oleaginea. They are also highly susceptible to the cold.

Raggia (Frantoio)-Used only for the oil. Typically a medium sized olive. With a moderate flesh to pit ratio. Typically has a medium stone but the stone maybe large in a few of them, and has a rugose stone surface. The tree has drooping branches with a dense canopy, and typrically a strong vigour tree, but maybe moderate (9/24 trees are moderate). They got a low-moderate fruit drop, the color at harvest varies, from black, to green, to rose or light brown. The oil varies from greenish yellow, an intense-green, or yellow. The oil content fruit weight is high, with easy oil extraction. Testing of the oil on average yeilds excellent results, the oil smells of almonds, aromatic-grass artichoke, cut-grass, floreal, fruity, green apples, or tomatoes. The oil tates sweet, bitter or pungent. Generally a high rooting ability, but may also be moderate, the trees are usually good or moderate constant bearing trees, but may also be good or moderate biennials. Highly susceptible to A. Mellea, olive flies, fomes fulvus, m. Incognita, M. Cladosporioides, P. Scarabaeoides, P. Vulnus, olive moths, P. Syringae, R. necatrix, R. Macrodoratus, S.Oleae, S. Oleadinae, T. Semipenetrans, The SLRV virus. They have a moderate susceptibility to V. Dahliae, P. Unionalis, G. Olivarum, and a low susceptibility to C. Dalmaticum. Highly susceptible to air humidity, cold (moderate-high), drought (medium-high), fog, soil moisture, and wind. Moderate low susceptibility to salinity.

Rosciola-Used only for it’s oil. Light olives, moderate vigour tree with spreading branches. Self incompatible. Greenish yellow oil, or yellow. Generally high to medium oil content by fruit weight. The oil smells of almonds, aromatic-grass, artichoke, cut grass, floreal, fruity, green-apple, tomatoes, with bitter, pungent, or sweet taste. High to moderate rooting ability, they are a constant bearing tree with good to moderate harvest. Highly susceptible to olive flies, M. cladosporioides, P. Pentagona, P. Syringae, S. Oleaginea, and a moderate S. panizzei. Mixed cold susceptiblity, 7/20 high susceptibility, 11/20 low, and 2/20 moderate susceptibility. Low drought susceptibility, and highly susceptibile to salinity.

Oliva Taggiasca-used for oil. Moderate fruit weight, drooping tree branches strong vigour tree. Partially self compatible to self incompatible. The oil is greenish yellow, with high oil content to fruit weight. Easy oil extraction. The oil smells of almond, aromatic-grass, artichoke, cut grass, fruity, or tomatoes. Bitter pungent or sweet oil taste. Low to high rooting ability, (2/3 low, 1/3 high), good to moderate constant bearing tree. High susceptibility to olive flies, M. Incognita, P. Vulnus, P. Syringae, R. macrodoratus, S. Oleaginea, and T. Semipentrans. High susceptibility to cold, drought, fog and wind.


Alfafara-mainly a oil olive but is also used as rootstock. Grown in spain, argentina, brazil, and morocco. Self compatible, average oil content for the olives weight, though difficult to extract with above average induced rooting. A good bienniel.Generally low pseudomonas syringae, though 1 out of 3 exhibits high susceptibility, and highly susceptible to Spilocaea oleaginea. Low cold susceptibility but highly susceptible to drought.

Arbequina-frequently used as a oil olive and is grown world wide. A light weighted olive, with small stone. The branches tend to be spreading, with a average canopy density as far as olives are concerned but a tree of weak vigour but self compatible. High oil content for the weight of the olive, characterized by the smell of cut grass an fruity. 1 in 3 people will find it either bitter, pungent, or sweet.High rooting ability, generally a good bienniel but can bare constantly. Highly susceptible to bactrocera oleae, gloeosporium olivarum, helicotyencus digonicus, helicotyencus pseudoobustus, melanaspies paulista, meloidoyne arenaria, meloidoyne incognita, meloidoyne javancia mesocriconema xenoplax, pratylenchus penetrans, pratylenchus vulnus, saissetia oleae, and verticillium dahliae. Average susceptiblity to spilocaea oleaginea, psuedomonas syringae, and myococentrospora cladosporioides. Low susceptibility to air humidity, cold, and salinity. Average to low susceptibility to drought. Highly susceptible to lime soil, and iron chlorosis.

Cacereña-A dual purpose olive.Above average weighted olive, yet a weak vigour tree. Self compatible with low oil content, high rooting ability, good constant baring or good bienniel baring. High susceptibility to verticilliu dahliae, but moderate spilocaea oleaginea susceptibility with low susceptibility to pseudomonas syringae, and bactrocera oleae. Average cold susceptibility.

Callosina-grown in the Alicante and Murcia area of spain. It’s an oil olive. It’s got a medium weight as far as olives are concerned with a high oil content for it’s weight. Moderate to high induced rooting ability. Good constant bearing tree. Highly susceptible to spilocaea oleginea but low susceptibility to Bactrocera oleae and Pseudomonas syringae. It’s got a low susceptibility to cold and drought.

Changlot- A dual purpose olive primarily used for oil grown throughout spain, portugal, argentina, brazil and chile. A tree of strong vigour bearing medium weighted fruit. Generally partially self compatible. The olive is considered to be a moderate to high oil content olive. Good alternating tree with moderate to low induced rooting ability. Low susceptibility to the viruses SLRV, CuMV, and Saissetia oleae, verticillium dahliae and bactrocra oleae. Moderate susceptibility to Liothrips oleae and prays oleae. Highly susceptible to Pseudomonas syringa and spilocaea oleaginea. Moderately tolerant of salt, but will not tolerate drought or cold at all.

Empeltre-A dual purpose olive prized for it’s oil. The olive weight is moderate. Moderate to strong vigour with a dense canopy and erect branches. Moderate oil extraction but is generally high in oil content, and partially self compatible. The oil smells fruity and like cut grass. The taste is a mix of bitter pungent and sweet. Low induced rooting ability with a few trees being moderately good alternate bearing trees. Moderately to highly susceptible to bactrocera oleae, gloeosporium olivarum, saisstia oleae, spilocaea oleginea, and the viruses CuMV and SLRV. Low to moderate susceptibility to verticillium dahliae with 1 out of 7 trees being highly susceptible. Highly susceptible to cold yet moderatly to highly susceptible to drought.

Farga-A oil olive grown all over spain and argentina. Strong vigour moderate weighted olive. Partially self compatible, with high oil content. It is difficult to extract the oil, yet the taste and smell is often bitter, pungent and sweet, with a nose of fruit and cut grass. Low induced rooting ability, and good alternate bearing tree. Highly susceptible to Bactrocera oleae, pseuomonas syringae, spilocaea oleaginea, and verticillium dahliae. If your trees get cold, expect to loose about half.

Gordal-(may also refure to a variety of spanish olives) The olive called gordal in greece is actually a spanish olive grown there. This is for gordal sevillana. It is a dual purpose olive. The olive is very heavy with high flesh to pit ratio. Large scabrous stone of large size. Tree is of medium strong vigour. Generally self incompable, 18/25 trees, while 2/25 are self compatible, and 5/25 are partially self compatible. The color is usually purple black when harvisted, and the flesh is difficult to to remove from the stone as it is kinda stuck on. Low oil content, low rooting ability, early harvest tree. Most of the time a poor low yeilding tree. The tree is highly susceptible to the olive fly, camarosporium dalmaticum, gloeosporium olivarum, meloidogyne arenaria, meloidogyne incognita, meloidogyne javanica, pratylenchus penetrans, pratylenchus vulnus, pseudomonas syringae, saisetia oleae, sooty mold, low susceptible to spilocaea oleaginea, high verticillum dahliae, and zeuzera pyrinas, low virus SLRV, Virus CuMV, moderate virus CLRV, moderate ArMV and low susceptibility to mycocentrospora cladosporioides. High susceptible to air humidy, mild cold resistance, high drought susceptiblitity, medium salinity, with moderate to low soil moisture susceptibility.

Hojiblanca- grown throught the world, most notably, argentina, spain, australia, china, israel, turkey, morocco, portugal, south africa, and uruguay. Primiarily a dual purpose olive. Above average weight as far as olives are concerned, with Lanceolate leaves and a moderate tree-internode length. Usually self compatible, but sometimes exhibit partially self self compatible. Late fruiting, sometimes low oil content, very difficult to extract. The oil smells of cut-grass and fruity…bitter and pungent yet sweet to others. Average induced rooting ability, and good biennial productivity. Highly susceptible to bactrocera oleae, gloeosporium olivarum, meloidogyne arenaria, meloidogyne incognita, meloidogyne javanica, pratylenchus penetrans, pratylenchus vulnus, pseudomonas syingae, saissetia oleae, spilocaea oleaginea, and verticillium dahliae with average susceptibility to Camarosporium dalmaticum, and low suceptibility to the viruses’s SLRV and CuMV. With above average cold susceptibility, low drought, low iron chlorosis, low lime soil, moderate Salinity susceptibility.

Manzanillo (olive)-Dual purpose but mostly a table olive. moderate to high fruit weight with a high flesh to pit ratio. Spreading branches with a moderate canopy density a tree of weak to moderate tree vigour. Typically self incompatible. The skin is black-purple at harvest with a high flesh to pit ratio. Easy to extract the oil with moderate to high oil content. The smell is fruity and of cut grass and like many oils bitter pungent yet sweet. Moderate to high induced rooting ability, generally a good alternate tree, but maybe good constant or intermediate constant. I am not sure about what biotic stresses are for these trees but I do know they are widely varied in cold susceptibility, moderate drought susceptibility, high susceptibility to iron chlorosis, lime, and soil moisture. Moderately susceptible to salinity.

Morrut-A oil olive grown only in spain. Moderate to high fruit weight. These are hit or miss 50/50 self compatible or self incompatible. Moderate to high oil content with the taste and smell of cut grass fruity bitter pungent and sweet. Hight induced rooting ability, generally a poor-alternating tree. Low susceptibility to bactrocera oleae and Pseudomonas syringae. Highly susceptible to fomes fulvus, gloeosporium olivarum and spilocaea oleaginea. Low wind susceptibility but highly susceptible to cold and drought.

Palomar-an oil olive grown only in barcelona and gerona spain. Though sometimes used as a table olive. A tree of weak vigour and moderate fruit weight. High oil content but the tree is self incompatible. The smell is of cut grass, bitter pungent and sweet. Moderate to high rooting ability when induced a good alternative bearing tree. Highly susceptible to Spilocaea oleaginea. I am unsure of the abiotic susceptibility of this tree.

Picual-Grown all over the world but is recognized as a spanish olive. Primarily an oil olive but sometimes is dual purpose. A tree with dense canopy and spreading branches with a short tree internode length and moderate vigour. High oil content, partially self compatible. Typically high induced rooting ability and a good constant or alternating bearing tree. Moderately susceptible to Camarosporium dalmaticum, Gloeosporium olivae, mycocentrospora cladosporioide, Pseuomonas syringae, and the viruss CuMV and SLRV. Highly susceptible to verticillium dahliae, saissetia oleae, prays oleae, pratylenchus vulnus, pratylenchus penetrans, mesocriconema xenoplax, Meloidogyne javanica, meloidgyne incognita, meloidogyne arenaria, helicotyencus pseudorobustus, helicotyencus digonicus, fomes fulvus and bactrocera oleae. Varied susceptibility to cold. Highly susceptible to drought. Moderate susceptibility to Iron chlorosis, soil moisture, and salinity.

Sevillenca-An oil olive grown only in and around the areas of Castellon, Tarragona, and Valencia Spain. A tree of moderate to strong vigour with medium weight fruit. The tree is incompatible with it’s self. The fruits are moderate to high in oil content and are easy to extract the oil. A typical smell (cut grass/fruity). Moderate to high induced rooting ability. Trees are always good constant or intermediate alternative producers. Highly susceptibl to Bactrocera oleae, Saissetia oleae, and Spilocaea oleaginea. Low susceptibility to Verticillium dahliae. Moderately susceptibility to cold. Highly drought susceptible.

Verdiell-An oil olive grown only in Lerida and Tarragona Spain. A tree of weak vigour and light fruits. Moderate oil content with difficult oil extraction with a typical smell and taste of spanish olives. (Cut-grass, fruity). High induced rooting ability good alternative bearing tree. Highly susceptible to Pseudomonas syringae. Doesn’t play well with drought and low cold susceptibility.
Other varieties

Souri (Lebanon)-A middle eastern olive used as a dual purpose olive. Grown in israel, lebanon, and the syrian arab republic. Moderate fruit weight with erect branches and a sparse canopy. A tree of moderate vigour. Partially self compatible. High oil content. Low to moderate induced rooting ability. A good alternate to intermediate alternate producing tree. Highly susceptible to Aceria oleae, Bactrocera oleae, Palpita unionalis, Pseudomonas syringae, Spilocaea oleaginea, Verticullium dahliae and Zeuzera pyrina. Low to moderate cold and drought susceptibility. Low wind susceptibility and moderate salinity susceptibility.

Nabali (RASI’I) (Palestine)-Mostly used as a table olive but is dual purpose. It is grown in the Gaza strip and west bank and jordan, along with Israel, and argentina. Variable oil conent though generally moderate. Partially self compatible with low to high induced rooting ability. Good alternative to good constant bearing tree. Highly susceptibility to Gloeosporium olivarum and Spilocaea oleaginea. Low cold and drought susceptibility, but moderately tolerant to salinity.

Barnea (Israel)-A dual purpose olive. Known to grow around the Kadesh-oasis. Open pollinated by chemlali.This tree is characterized by strong vigour and spreading branches a good constant bearing tree that is partially self compatible with high induced rooting ability. The fruits are moderate to high in oil content for their weight. Highly susceptible to Sooty molds, Saissetia oleae, Gloeosporium olivarum. Low susceptibility to Spilocaea. Highly susceptible to wind, soil moisture and cold but will be low susceptibile to salinity.

Maalot (Israel)- An oil olive grown only in Galilee in Israel and self pollinated with Chemlali. A tree of moderate vigour. High oil content, and intermediate alternating bearing tree. Low susceptibility to Spilocaea oleaginea.

Mission (California, United States)-A dual purpos olive that is also used as root stock and is grown world wide! From Iraq, and egypt to Japan and new zealand to australia. Literally grown on every continent with the exception of the poles. Self compatible with high oil content and medium to intermediate alternating production. High susceptibility to Aspidiotus hederae, Gloeosporium olivarum, Parlatoria oleae, Saissetia oleae, Spilocaea oleaginea, and Verticillium dahliae. Moderate susceptibility to Pseudomonas syringae. Low susceptibility to cold, moderate drought susceptibility and highly susceptible to salinity.

Section 1.2- Growing your olives.

Olives like be grown in bright places with direct sunlight. Young trees should be secured to long solid stakes to prevent from blowing over. Depending on the variety temprature, wind, soil moisture and salinity will all effect which tree can be grown. There is no olive that grows past zone 8. So those of us in zone 6a will be stuck without real olive trees. (there is 2 trees that are not true olive trees but are similar to olives and they are russian olives and autumn olives. Edible but just not the same but deserve mentioning.) These trees take a long time to grow. Olives should be fertilized at the beginning of spring or autumn using humus or mature manure. It’s best to mix a few buckets of fertilizer to the groun around the trunk of the tree every 2-3 years or when the tree is first implanted. They are evergreens and will keep their leaves year round. Every month to 5 weeks you should water with 1 to 2 buckets of water with the soil being allowed to dry for a few days between buckets. Water young or recently sheltered ones as adult trees are usually satisfied with rain water but in drier climates during times of drought they will need watering. During the spring you can spray it with wide range insecticide and systemic fungicide as a pre-emptive treatment for aphids and fungal disaseases from mild and damp climates.

Most varieties will grow in zones 10 and 11.Trees can be grown bonsai style and moved from hot house to outdoors but it can be very impractical for oil. Olives need a cold period for semi-dormancy. If the average temp is below 54 the tree will slow down and begin gearing up for flowering in the spring.

Be very careful of microclimate within your orchard. Small valleys can be colder then more open areas. These small valleys can be a major difference. This can give the trees frost damage.

Olive trees like non-stratified, moderately fine soils such as sandy loam, loam, silt loam, clay loam, and silty clay loam. These provide for great root growth due to aeration, they are permeable and have a high water holding capacity. Sandier soil are not good on nutrients or water retention. Heavy clays do not drain well or have aeration for root growth. They are shallow rooted trees. Soils that are unstratified to 4 feet are perfect for olives. Cemented hardpan or varying soil textures can impede water movement and can lead to saturate layers that damage olive roots. The trees produce well on moderately acid soils greater then a ph of 5 to moderately basic soils less then a ph of 8.5. Alkaline or soic soils provide poor water penetration and drainage and will create saturated soil conditions that kill olive roots.

Trees grown in the west and southern parts of the US will give better yields and will help protect from freezes if they are given a Southern exposure.

Many trees are grown on an incline, usually less then 20 degrees. The best way to make sure an area is good is to dig a hole and pour in water to see if the water drains. This is called a perc test.

It’s location location location. You need to consider the properties around. Things you should look for are organic buffer zone, run off issues which can bring pest sources. (Growing organically, sources of pests such as untreated olives infested with olive fly, dead native growth can carry boring bettles, grasshopers or weevils which can cause major infestations, and other pests suchs as wild pigs, gophers or ground squirrels.)

What you plan on planting your trees for is a big part of growing olive trees.

Landscaping-Decoration? The shape or size of the tree? A focal point for a garden? Perhaps a mediterranean feel? Well there are areas where planting olives is prohibited for fear of pollen. Sometimes in these aras a non fruiting olive tree can be grown for these purposes. It is called a swan hill olive.

Production-Curing, making oil, both perhaps are questions you must ask. If your making oil, what type of oil do you like? Go out to taste olive oil and find out. The producers are generally very open and helpful when it come to their blends. If your going to try to turn this into a business, you need to think who your going to sell to? What’s the taste profile, an are you going to sell olives, or bulk oil? Local blenders and bulk buyers are always looking for something in particular. The more specific your goals the better. It will make picking the right mix of olive trees worlds easier. People to talk to are producers, olive oil experts, the local farm advisor, olive tree nursery, local growers or a consultant. Talk to them all, it’s not a decision to be made lightly and you need all information before jumping in.

Keep in mind the size. Tree liners for large orchards to fully grown trees can be purchased. The larger the trees the more money your going to shell out. The only real difference is time, money and survival rate. The larger tree the more likely they are to survive.

Certain trees require other varieties for polination. Many recommended Pendolino, Maurino, and leccino to increase the yield. The growers I spoke to recommended that you should plant at least three olive varieties in close proximity to ensure cross pollination.

Many common choices are Arbequina, ascolano, Frantoio, Leccino, Manzanillo, Maurino, Mission, Pendolino, Sevillano. Then there are 3 oils that are used for super high density orchards that produce a lot of oil. They are Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki.

So now you know some of the information for growing. Chances are your not going to grow an entire orchard. So I’ll stop here and will create a third olive article which hopefully will not take a year about orchard set up. I will tell you, olive oil as a business is very expensive. To give a sence of how expensive…land is between $1,000-50,000 per acre, with a cost of a minimum of 6 bucks per tree, 150-300 trees per acre general, 5,000 to prep the land and plant trees, 500-2000 to maintain 1 acre of orchard. 300-700 to harvest a ton of olives, between 1-6 ton of olives per acre. 550-900 per ton of olives sold as is. Milling 2 tons per hour is 220,000-320,000 and 80,000-100,000 for milling periphernalia. Costs 300-450 per ton at a public processor and get 12-50 gallons of oil per ton. Harvesters are 125,000-350,000 and only orchards of 200 acres or more are able to handle that. So your probably looking at a few million for start up.

1.3 The types of olive oil

Ok moving on. The types of olive oil. We all hear of EVOO or extra virgin olive oil when cooking. Here’s something you don’t know, EVOO has 4 sub types. These 4 types are extra virgin (regular), organic extra virgin, PDO (protected designation of origin) and PGI (protected geographical indication). Each sub type has varying charactoristics.

All virgin oli oils come only from olives. The oil is obtained either mechanically or physically, or through a thermal process which does not alter the oil. All virgin oils are natural, untreated in anyway other then, washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering. Oils that do not fall in this catigory are oils that use solvents, re-esterification, and are made using oils from other sources. For example if I mix extra virgin olive oil with peanut oil and market it as extra virgin olive oil, it’s not really extra virgin olive oil.

PDO/PGI olive oils, meet the specific characteritics of a particularly region. Think purity laws, it’s not true italian olive oil if it doesn’t pass the italian olive oil purity laws. All olive oils are characterized by their organoleptic (taste and aroma) and analytic characteristics. For example, the degree of acidity contained in an olive oil is actually the amount of fatty acids floating in it not in it’s oil make up not the taste. PGI means it came from a region. For example, if I make a Italian olive oil in rome, Italy using only italian olives, it is automatically PGI because it is made within lazio and is a product of lazio.

Extra virgin olive oils-has a free acidity (known as oleic acid) of no more then .8% and fits in the IOOC standards. (International olive oil councel-and no I am not kidding.) This is the highest quality olive oil, and is less then 10% of the olive oil market for any producing country. The taste, color and appearance can vary grately. They have a taste and aroma that reflects that they were mae from olives. They are anything but tasteless and have no taste defects. (More on tasting later)

Virgin olive oils-no more then 2.0% of oleic acid. This is just under the extra virgin olive oils. They must meet the IOOC standards. (sorry but the IOOC wouldn’t tell me their standards.)

Ordinary virgin oils-must not exceed 3.3% oleic acid and matches with the IOOC’s characteristics. They are considered an inferior oil with defects in tasting. In some countries these are known as lampante olive oil by the IOOC and the EU has already done so.

Lampante virgin olive oils-These are oils not ment for consumption. They have 3.3% of oleic acid in their make up. These are olive oils intended to be refined, or for olive oil lamps. They are generally the result of bad olives and bad/careless processing methods.

Then we drop out of the virgin olive oils and into the refined olive oils. Refined olive oils are from Lampante virgin olive oils that under go treatment. (Kinda like distilling), the requirement is that this treatment must not damage the glyceridic structure of the oil. They in the end have an acidity of no more then .3%. Half the oil in the mediterranean is refined because it is such a low quality. There is no solvents used to extact the oil, and refined oils are considered tasteless, odorless and colorless and are considered unfit for human consumption because of the poor flavor not safety concerns. It is refined with the use of charcoal, and other chemical and physical filters without using solvents.

Then we drop down into the blended oils. Blended olive oils are a mixture of a higher grade virgin olive oil and a blend of the more tasteless refined olive oils. They are not allowed to pass an acidity of 1%. Most of your olive oils are of this type. Olive oils sold here in the united states as light or extra light are blended olive oils. The overall goal is to use up this inferior oils by making different tastes and blends at different prices.

Then we get into pomace oils. Pomace oils are the ground flesh and pits left after pressing. Olive-pumace oil is gotten as a result of solvents and physical treatments or re-esterification. It is used in soap making and industrial purposes. It is broken up into 3 groups. Crude, refined and olive-pomace oil.

Crude is just that, the oils resulting from further pressing and other physical treatments without the use of anything other then pressing.

Refined is obtained from crude. It has a very low acid content. It is refined much like refined olive oil, except it’s using crude.

Then we got olive-pomace oil. it is blended with refined olive-pomace oil and virgin olive oil. It’s got no more then 1% acid.

I personally like them in frangrances or massage oils but thats just me, and I love them in olive oil lamps.

Tasting oliv oil is mostly through smelling. A tablespoon in a tapered wine glass is best. Then swirl it around with 1 hand over the glass. Then tick your nose in there. Inhale. You can now describe the smell. Mild strong, hints of fruit or cut grass etc. Then you slurp your olive oil, yes you slurp it. This helps with emulsifying the oil with the air and helps spread it through the mouth. This lets you get a taste of every small flavor with a small sip. Then you swallow the oil and see if it stings your throat. First the aroma, then bitterness, and then the intensity of the oil’s pungent characteristics. The reason color isn’t judged is cause the color doesn’t indicate a flavor or the oils quality. Taste in a dark blue glass and you’ll be amazed.

Then you must try to describe it. Aroma pleasant or was it terrible? Was the aroma strong, mild or in between? Was it better then the previous samples? Use 3 words or phrases to describe it. Is it bitter towards the back of the tongue? Is it mild or strong or in between this bitterness? Does it balance against the aroma? Hows it feel on your throat? What was your impression? Did your throat sting or were you forced to cough? Is the pungency of the oil balanced against the aroma and bitterness? Rinse your mouth with water and figure out which oils you like best. There is over 1000 varieties of olive all with their own flavors, this will give you lots of flavor ranges. In time you can test to see which variety you like, and help to educate your palate. Then you can do as I do and select the olive oil that has the flavor charateristics that will go well with your meal. If your sitting here thinking, wow they treat olive oil like wine. Your right olive oil is treated just like wine.

1.4 Extracting the oil

So now you got your olives. You know how to grow them, you know the types of olives and you know how to taste the olive oil. How do you get oil out of the olives? First harvesting is a big factor in your oil.

This is a very complicated stage in oil production. Olives are not like picking grapes for wine. With wine you may have to be up in the middle of the night to harvest your grapes and put them on ice. Planning is key to picking olives for oil. You don’t want the olives to sit long at all.

There is three maturity stages that olives are picked for their oil. They are green immature, verasion, and black.

Green immature olies are green and very firm. Their oil is bitter and grassy with unripe and vegetative characteristics. They are high in anti-oxidents and flavor components. They are bitter because of it and very pungent with a long shelf life due to natural preservatives. They are rich in chlorophyll making them very green. They are hard to press because they are unripe and need to malax or relax longer.

Veraison as it is called is when the skin turns red-purple in color. Olive go from green to yellow-green then the red-purple. They are still high in anti-oxidents but not as much as green olives. This is when they begin to get the ripe fruityness to them, which I rather enjoy. These oils have some bitterness and some pungency. This is when they are considered to be at the peak for oil production, as they have the most oil in them. They are usually easier to extract oil from then green.

Black is when the olive mature. The skin turns black. Some varieties never go fully black. The flesh darkens all the way to the pit. The oils from mature fruit are less bitter, less pungent, and more golden in color generally because of a decline in chlorophyll and anti-oxidents. As a result while the yield is high, and the oil is sweet, the trade off is a shorter shelf life.

I can think of only 4 ways to extract the oil. They are the olive press, decanter centrifuge, sinolea, and hybrid.

My favorite and probably your favorite is the olive press. It in my opinion is perfect for the person with a few olive trees who’d like to try their hand at making some olive oil. Olive made 5000 years ago was pressed by the greeks. In Volubilis in Morocco they have ancient olive oil on display from the Romans.Olive presses wor by applying pressure to olive paste to seperate the water from the oil from the paste. The water and oil were then seperate by decantation. It requires proper cleaning, and a lot of precations to make high quality olive oil. The olives must be ground under a millstone for 30-40 minutes. This insures that the olives are well ground into paste, that the dropplets of oil from the olives form large droplets of oil, and the natural enzymes can produce the aroma and taste. The paste is usually spread onto disks then stacked up ontop of one another like the records on a juke box. Traditionally, these disks were made of fibers from coconut or hemp. Today synthetic fibers are used as they are easy to clean and mantain. These disk then were pressed together with something very heavy. Today hydraulic pistons capable of excerting 400 atmospheres of pressure! Water was then poured down the sides of the disks to help seperation. Today they use a vertical centrifuge to seperate the water and oil. It forms a very high quality olive oil. The disks are then cleaned to prevent fermentation and cause defects in the oil. They require cleaning after each use.

Today centriugation is the most common. They take up a huge area. The olives are crushed to a paste. Allowed to rest or malax for up to an hour to form the droplets of oil. It is then pumped into a centrifuge mixed with water and then spun at 3000 rpm. This then allows the solids to cling to the side (Similar to clothes in your washer), then water, and olive oil in the middle. The solids are pushed out, and the water is then run through a verticle centrifuge at double the speed to remove any little bit of oil left. The advantages are compactedness (1 takes up the space of 7 presses, but I like the presses myself. ) They can run continuously, without human intervention. They require very little labor, the water is easier to dispose of, and it gets a lot of the oil out. The oils are less likely to oxidize as well.

The draw back is they are expensive. There is a high energy bill involved. The pomace can be wet and harder to clean. There’s more water to get rid of. There is fewer antioxidents due to the water added. The wear from rocks and grit can damage them leading to technical labor that is expensive.

Then we get to the Sinolea. The Sinolea is an old process that uses rows of metal disks that are dipped into the paste. The though is that the oil sticks to the steel plates due to the differences in surface tension. The advantage is, it can be automated, there is low energy requirements, low labor, the oil and water seperation steps aren’t needed, there is more polyphenols in the end resulting oil, and it can be done at low temperatures to meet the cold extraction standards. The draw back is you need more then 1 method due to a lot of oil being left behind in the paste which results in more space and labor. The large metal plates lead to the oil oxidizing which is a bad thing. The machines are outlawed for sale in the EU due to the degree of difficulting cleaning such large surface areas.

Hybrid methods use a wide variety of different set ups based on the final outcome. For example some use a millstone to grind the olive paste, then they use a centrifuge to seperate the water from the oil. It is generally not used on a commercial level because there is times that all the machinery is stopped. It is expensive but it’s used by small scale olive mills to make high quality oils.

Some things being looked at for the future is the extraction and malaxation in a nitrogen atmosphere to reduce oxidization. Removing the pit before grinding to prevent the oxidizing enzymes from getting in the paste and the paste being free of wood making it acceptible as animal feed. Reducing water addition to reduce washing of the flavorful polyphenols. Improving the sinolea method by increasing the oil absorption efficency of the plates to remove the need for other methods of extraction.

Sometimes during the extraction process they use additives and addition processing techniques. Talc can be used to process olives that are hard to extract oil from or to increase the yield of some olives. Other things that are done are the use of enzymes, steam, hexane and other such solvents to increase the yield while sacraficing quality of the oil. Then there is the method of refining by reducing the acid by use of a alkali (caustic soda) or steam processing; bleaching the oil to remove residual fatty acids, chlorophyll, and carotenoids. Further more diatomaeous earth, activated carbon or synthetic silica can be usd to filter and remove the odors of activated carbon. These are only used for low quality oils mind you.

After you can do three things. 1) Get them tested by a lab and certified to be labeled extra virgin for selling. 2) Taste them and blend them to get the flavor profile that you like. 3) bottle and label them.

1.5 selecting the bottle

The size of the bottle is important. The bottles are usually 250ml, 375ml, 500ml and 750ml. The shape is more about practicality. If your going to label and sell them you need a bottle you can label. You also want a bottle that won’t fall over and break easily during shipping. A bottle that is amber, green, dark blue or black are better then clear glass bottles. The light will ruin the quality of the oil and acclerate the oxidiation. Bottles should not use lead to produce the glass.

There is 4 types of tops that are used in the industry. Bar tops, screw tops, ropp tops and corks.

Bar tops are plastic disks ontop of a natural or synthetic cork. It must fit the bottle, they no special equipment, can be done by hand, and are interchangeable between bottles. They must be ordered to fit. The other problem is that they can pop when there is a change in temprature or pressure. This can be fixed by not over filling. They can then be shrink wrapped on. It is considered to be more expensive of the 4.

Screw tops can be done by hand with no special equipment. They are not easily interchangeable. They look clumsy, the seal is more reliable, and are the middle road in terms of price. They are almost always plastic.

Ropp tops are metal twist tops. They got a tamper proof ring on the closure and when you open it you can hear it seperating from the ring. They are reliable and resistant to temprature and pressure changes. They do require special and expensive equipment to apply. They can be shrink wrapped and are the least expensive in the long run for large scale production. Not very cheap for small production.

Corks are almost never used cause they aren’t reliable for companies. Artisan olive oils will use corks from time to time. There is ontop of it other things ontop. Shrink-wrap capsules are plastic tamper proof seals. They us a heat gun or a shrink wrapper to apply. They are cheap and have many different color options.

Raffia are another method to finish off the bottles. They are expnsiv difficult and time consuming. Raffia is imported and treated to kill beetle eggs that can be in it. They are used for small bottles or home use.

Wax finishes are har to apply and more expenive then shrink wrap. They are hard to remove.

Foil capsules are made of metal and seen on wine bottles. You need a spinner machine and they are expensive to buy and use.

Most companies store the oil in drumps or tanks than in bottles. They will only fill bottles to meet their sales. Some bottle by hand it’s the cheapest way to go and simplest. They use a hose and a spigot on the barrel.

There is gravity fillers which have a siphon tube. There is several spigots on the bottom and they are filled in rows.

Vacuume fillers suck air out of the bottle and push oil in. It is one one bottle at a time and is very expensive.

Line bottlers are machines that fill the bottle, apply the cape and the label. They are fast and the most expensive way to bottle olive oil. Kinda like how they do soda on how it’s made.

There you have it….everything on taking an olive from a tree and making it into olive oil.

A follow up article long over do…Olives.

Many have viewed the article on olives. If you’ve not read it you can read it here. Everything on olives from tree to table.
It has been a year since I originally wrote the article on in responce to a question on the forums about curing olives instead of marinating them. I am hoping within the next few day to complete the follow up article a year in the making on from tree to oil.

The search to list the traits of the main varieties used in the olive industry has taken me a year of talking with olive growers from around the world. I hope to finish the information from the grove owners. Sadly the growers wouldn’t allow me to use their name in my article. If they are reading I hope they understand how thankful I am for all their help. Without their knowledge and willingness to share with me both their knowledge and the legacy of my heritage.

I hope everyone will enjoy the new article when it goes live.

The art of pasta


Pasta (Photo credit: HatM)

Durum Wheat crop

Durum Wheat crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I am in awe of people who think a box of pasta secca or factory made pasta serves as italian along with a jar of sauce.  I will share some of my knowledge on pasta with my readers.

Pasta fresca or fresh pasta is an art. Fresca doesn’t mean fresh usually, it signifies moist, or just made. This art begins with the flour used to make the pasta. There is 5 types of flour used for making pasta. They are:

1. Strong flour – a good strong white bread flour is the most commonly used flour for pasta making. The pasta can be made with or without eggs because there is enough strength in the gluten in a good flour to hold the pasta together. The eggs are not essential and merely make a richer pasta.

2. OO flour – this is the one that the purists use and is also the one I like and even make pizza from. A bag of OO flour usually says on it “di grano tenero” which means soft grain. OO signifies very fine so what we’ve actually got is a fine soft white flour. Because it is a soft white, it will be low in gluten and will therefore need something to hang it together and that means you have to use eggs as a binder. The “dentiness” of pasta meaning that pasta al dente should have some firmness, almost crunchiness, to it and should not be just pastey. A very high gluten flour can manage this on it’s own, but as OO is low gluten, the eggs provide that degree of firmness required as well as holding the pasta together.

3. O flour – is a halfway house between a strong flour and OO flour. It is usually a blend of a very strong flour such as durum flour and a softer white wheat flour. Because of the strong flour, it will contain more gluten than OO flour and will generally make pasta without the addition of eggs. However the pasta itself will be less firm if the eggs are left out. It will require less egg than OO because it already contains more gluten. The balancing act between eggs and gluten will determine the final texture and really it comes down to personal preference and how rich you want the pasta to be. In short, the more Os that there are in the name of the flour, the more eggs it will need. If you want to put lots of eggs in, go for a OO. If you only want a little egg in, go for the O or the strong flour. If you are not bothered about egg at all, then use the strong flour.

4. Durum flour – comes from durum wheat which is a very hard high gluten variety of grass/wheat. It is used commercially for blending with other flours and for the manufacture of dried pastas. Many varieties of dried pasta list their ingredients as durum flour or durum wheat semolina (in pasta terms it’s the same thing) and that is all. It is generally not used in a home cooking situtation many italians prefere to use a good strong bread flour for pasta and many can not recall ever seeing an Italian cook or housewife making her pasta with semolina. Having said that, it’s most common form is as durum wheat semolina and it can be added to any strong flour to bump up the strength.

5. Semolina – comes from the heart or endosperm of the wheat grain. Durum wheat semolina is used for dried pasta because it is very high in gluten and because as semolina it is ground fairly coarsely, rather like ground rice, so it absorbs less water. It therefore dries faster whilst maintaining it’s shape and will cook without falling apart. It needs no eggs and so from a commercial point of view is far easier to handle (in other words they break the italian cooking commandment, NO SHORT CUTS! My great grandma would rise from her grave an strangle me for short cuts, as would any italian’s grandma). In a home situation where the pasta is to be used fresh, it is not really suitable to be used on it’s own as it can be dreadfully difficult and a lot of work to handle. It can easily be added to another flour, as an experiment if for no other reason. If buying semolina for this purpose, confirm that it is durum wheat semolina. In a supermarket, it probably won’t be unless specified as such because most people are cooking things that don’t require a top grade wheat.

I recommend a beginner to use 1 part semolina to 3 parts of strong flour.

Now a key factor is the differences between the two types of pasta. A fresh pasta will absorb sauces, where a factory made pasta transports it. So think about what you want your pasta to do. In lighter sauces such as a clam sauce, I like my pasta to be fresh so it absorbs the light watery sauce flavoring the pasta. I like to make my own dried pastas for the heavier sauces. This way these heavier sauces make it to my mouth…though inevitably some makes it to my lap or in my case my shirt.

When aiming for authenticity or tradition. Most pastas from Emilia-Romagna and, to a lesser extent, Abruzzo, Lazio (my ancestral homeland), Marche, Tuscany, and Umbria, make their pastas with only eggs and flour and don’t use any salt or water at all. In other areas of the north, Liguria, Piedmont, and Veneto, fresh pasta is made with flour, water, and fewer eggs (one exception being Piedmont’s rich tajarin, which is made with a lot of egg yolks). In the south, (anything below lazio/latium is considered southern Italy.) fresh pasta is made from a dough of semola [semolina – ground durum wheat] and water, but no eggs. So keep in mind there is room to experiment with the dough.

There is many types of pasta you can make. The two main ones are pasta liscia or smooth pasta, and then there is pasta ripiena or stuffed pasta.

Pasta liscia like the name implies have a smooth surface. Examples are pappardellefettuccineorecchiettetrenettetagliatelle, and taglierini, the latter two derivatives of the Italian verb tagliare [to cut].  It is also cut into square shapes, like Liguria’s lasagne. Thats right, lasagne noodles are a type of Pasta Liscia. My favorite type of pasta is maccheroni alla chitarra. This involes cutting mixed dough, rolled out by hand, and it is cut by laying a sheet of dough over a device called a chitarra which means guitar and pressing it against those strings.

Now Pasta ripiena allows for a cook’s special creativity and there are multitudes of fillings for every shape imaginable of pasta. (lobster stuffed heart shaped ravioli for example, or crawfish or even catfish.)  Found throughout northern and central Italy, stuffed pasta is virtually unheard of in the South.  Pasta made for stuffing needs eggs for strength and structure.  Historically, there has never been a lot of eggs in the poorer southern regions of Italy, so pasta ripiena never caught on until recent times when the poor are able to get eggs.

Some good examples of Pasta ripiena include agnolotti from Piedmont – squares with ruffled edges, stuffed with meat and cabbage, agnolini from Emilia-Romagna are halfmoons stuffed with meat and vegetables, and Liguria’s pansoti, filled with wild greens and fresh sour cheeses.  Central Italy has tortelli – large squares filled with spinach and ricotta.  And, of course, Bologna has its cappelletti, small rings of pasta filled with a rich meat mixture, parmigiano-reggiano, and nutmeg.

So the recipe depends on what you want to do with your pasta.

Now I wanna talk about the eggs. First and foremost, WASH YOUR EGGS EVEN IF YOU GET THEM FROM THE STORE. The shell is where salmonella resides, and cross contamination is your biggest threat. You can get salmonella in the egg it’s self but by boiling the pasta past al dente you remove the risk in my opinion. If your using eggs there is many types of eggs you can use. Yes there is more then 1 type of hen egg. There are many varieties of chicken, some are rare breeds. The eggs differ from one another like people do. Hen eggs your best bet is to get what ever is local. The best-tasting eggs are those that are the most nutritious!  Whenever possible, use organic, free-range eggs.  “Cage-free” can mean a lot of things, but don’t necessarily mean the chickens are ever let out of the barn.  Also beware of vegetarian-fed eggs; chickens are natural omnivores, meaning they need protein in their diet, like bugs and worms, which they can only get as they happily run around clucking and scratching and pecking at the ground during the day, in the sunlight (which gives them a natural rhythm that is necessary for egg-laying).  These types of eggs are the most nutritious and will produce excellent pasta! Another is the yolk. The larger the yolk the richer the pasta. There is a breed in Italy that is rare and by rare I mean nearly none existant, while I forget the name it has a pink shell and a large rich yolk. The species was all but wiped out because of the modern commercial chickens who laid eggs at a faster rate. They are now making a come back in artisanal pasta.

Though play around with the eggs you got locally see what works for you. I like duck, goose, or even emu eggs. I think my favorite eggs are duck eggs. They are richer then hen eggs. Bigger, oiler, larger yolk, make for a very good pasta. You need 1 duck egg for every 2 hen eggs. I can find many duck eggs, and there are many local duck farms. We also have a guy who raises emus, and geese. A emu egg is worth 10 normal chicken eggs. Emu eggs are 10 times thicker then your chicken eggs. I tend to use the back of my butcher knife to crack them open. There really isn’t much difference between emu and chicken eggs from the store.  Goose eggs are worth 3 eggs and again absolutely delicious. The yolk of a goose egg is more like a custard or crisco when raw. They will really make your pasta yummy. Just try not to over cook the pasta with goose eggs. You’ll get a strong sulphur taste if you do. Last but not least, Ostrich eggs. They are 24 eggs that’s right 2 dozen eggs if your making pasta with them. They are very artisanal and very rare to come by. I highly recommend them if your going to make a load of pasta for a family event. They are just so wonderful. It’s like heaven in your mouth. Now you know how to substitute eggs which will come in handy when I give a few basic recipes later on.

One thing many people say to me is making pasta at home is hard. No it’s not, it’s terms are complex, but if you understand everything so far, you will find it is really easy. Some say it’s expensive, flour and eggs not very expensive at all. It lasts longer if you make it at home. Thats right, I will tell you how to make homemade pasta last for several months! The best thing is, fresh pasta taste so much better, face it everything done at home tastes better. It’s the love and joy that make it so much better.

Now you get this big lump of dough. You need to flatten it out. There’s 2 ways to do this. One is by hand with a rolling pin and the other is a pasta rolling machine. For beginners I recommend investing in the pasta rolling machine. Having mastered the rolling pin, I can say from experiance it can drive a saint stock raving mad. It takes a long time to master. If you don’t roll your pasta out to an even thickness it can cook unevenly leaving a bad taste in your mouth so to speak. Sorry little pasta humor. Mastering the rolling pin results in a higher quality pasta. It is common place to find a 3 foot long wooden rolling pin in an Italian kitchen. The trick other then quickness is speed. You need quick motions with a rolling pin which stretches the dough. The grain from the wood also leaves a series of small ridges in the pasta which really adds to the texture.

Now here’s where things get debatable and often in Italian families become bitter enemies. The ingrediants. Salt, olive oil, water, and eggs are all argued over. One thing is certain and we Italians all agree, flour is used in making pasta.

Many don’t believe salt is to be used, since many Italians boil their pasta in salted water. Many agree lightly salted water is best vrs unsalted water with salt added to the pasta. Now here’s where the debate really gets heated. Water, some believe adding water results in a pasta that is more gummier. I’ve added water and enjoyed the results myself. Now here’s where Italians come to blows. Olive oil, it is believed olive oil ruins the texture of the pasta and this makes it impossible for the sauce to be absorbed. I think there is room for you to play around with these ingredients and find what you like. Me, it depends on what I’m doing. I like olive oil if I’m making a rich, thick hearty sauce. I never add salt and occationally I will use water. Experiment find what works transporting you to pasta zen.

Now back to the flours. They are very important.

  • Protein content. Egg pasta in the style of Emilia-Romagna requires low-gluten (and thus low protein) flour in order to achieve its soft, tender, and absorbent quality.  High protein flours are better used for breads, which give them a strong gluten web structure that withstands the powerful yeast gases that produce a good rise.  These would include bread flour, durham flour (semolina [semola di grano duro]), and whole wheat flour.
  • Consistency.  The protein content of wheat varies from harvest to harvest. Only the national brands have successfully achieved consistent protein content year after year, with King Arthur having the best reputation among commercial bakers.  Regional brands can also work well and many times have lower protein contents.
  • Texture. For egg pasta, the finer the grind the better.  Grainy flour, such as semolina, is difficult to work with and nearly impossible to roll out with a rolling pin.  Semolina is used in factory-made pasta, where powerful machinery works the dough into beautifully-shaped varieties.
  • Ash content. Ash content (sometimes called “mineral content” on the package) refers the outer layers of the wheat berry, where the minerals are concentrated.  Flours that are processed closest to the bran will have higher ash content and are darker in color due to particles of bran.  A high mineral content will develop more intense fermentation and flavor, which is wonderful for bread, but not for egg pasta.  Flour from France typically has higher ash content than Italian or American flour, which gives French breads their distinctive flavor.
  • Extraction rate. This refers to the flour obtained from the milling process and is related to ash content.  A 100% extraction (or straight-run) is wholemeal flour that contains the entire wheat berry grain.  Lower extraction rates render whiter flours from which progressively more of the bran and germ (and thus B vitamins and iron) are excluded, down to a 72% extraction, which is typical American white flour.

There is no magic ratio. It is ready when it comes together to form a dough. Play around with it in order to develop a sense of the dough’s optimal consistency to ensure successful pasta. The ratio will depend upon upon the size of the eggs, how much moisture the flour will absorb, which in turn is dependent upon the kitchen environment, such as temperature and humidity level.

Now pastas go by many names, but the dough is different. For example if your making strangozzi then your going to start with a 4 egg dough as an example.

Now we got the ingredients out of the way, let’s get the techniques down.

The technique is quite simple. Measure out your flour onto a clean dry work space. Like a pizza stone or a cutting board. Make a depression in your flour and make sure the walls are thick. Crack into this well in the flour your eggs. Depending how many eggs your using, the well will need to be brought to size to hold them. I like to use my hands but break the yolk and mix it together so that the yolk and the whites are blended together. When I was young my great grandma gave me this job and I excelled at gushing the eggs together with my hands. Once your eggs are mixed slowly begin to bring in the flour into the eggs. Keep slowly taking more and more flour into the eggs while you mix them. I am however getting ahead of myself. While regular pasta is great, who wants just regular pasta all the time? You can add things to your pasta. Flavorings, herbs, color.  Here’s just some ideas that I use.

Green Pasta with Spinach Puree – Steam or blanch about 1/2 pound of spinach or swiss chard leaves (stems removed) until they are soft and bright green. Puree in a food processor until smooth and press out as much extra liquid as possible before mixing with the eggs. I also like to go further by adding roasted garlic into the food processor.

Red Pasta with Beet Puree – Roast two small or one large beet in aluminum foil in a 375° oven until very soft. Peel and puree in a food processor. After you can pickle the beets. Nothing should go to waste.

Black Pasta with Squid Ink – Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of squid ink to the eggs before mixing. Squid ink is available online and in many gourmet food stores. Be prepaired to pay a pretty penny for spanish inks.

Yellow Pasta with Saffron – Add a 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of ground saffron or ground turmeric to the eggs before mixing. (prefere the turmeric it’s much cheaper! This adds a spicy semi bitter flavor excellent paired off with a sweet sauce.)

Speckled Green Pasta with Fresh Herbs – Finely chop about enough fresh green herbs to equal about six tablespoons and mix them with the eggs before mixing. There’s no need to blanch or puree fresh herbs. Any fresh herbs can be used, either singly or in combinations, but think about which sauce you’ll be pairing with the herb pasta to make sure they work well together. I love a little dill in my rich hearty meat sauce.

Brown pasta-cuddle fish or octopus ink.

The inks (squid, cuttle fish, octopus) are ment for a number of things. They add a flavor of the sea, they add a nice saltyness, just use a little. It goes a long way. To make your own, you just need to catch them clean them and remove the ink from their sacks. This ink must be used within 30 days and has to be refrigerated. They also add color. A little goes a long way. You can find ink usually squid ink in well stocked cool super markets.

Now after adding our flavorings or colors we bring the flour slowly into the eggs mixing it together to form the dough. Once this is done move it to a clean spot and wash your board while leaving the dough covered by a towel. Now many people over look this, but you must knead the pasta. It makes it very cloud like. Pressing, folding, turning:  this is kneading.  With the heel of your hand, firmly press into the center of the dough ball.  Grab the far end with your fingers and fold it toward you, as if folding the dough in half.  Then give it a quarter turn.  Repeat  – over and over – and always in the same direction.  Use one hand, both hands, or alternate hands.  This may take 7-10 minutes depending on the flour. Now we must let it rest. Wrap the dough ball in foil or plastic film and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to two hours.   This resting period will allow the gluten to relax and ensure thorough and even absorption of the egg’s moisture into the flour.

To dry your pasta you will need a large surface area to dry the pasta.  If you have a large counter space, that works, as does your kitchen or dining room table, or as my great grandma did, use your bed!  Spread several thin towels or even an old sheet over the area. Roll the pasta out. If you got a pasta rolling machine, this is where you need to consult the instructions for attatching it to your work surface. (sorry but I have never used one, just my trusty rolling pin. So read the insturctions from cover to cover.)

I tend to divide my dough based on the number of eggs. If I used 5 eggs I divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Using a quick back and forth motion to get the pasta rolled out. (sorry I can’t be any more descriptive, it’s extremely hard to put into words.) If you were using a pasta roller, you’d set it to the desired thickness and run each dough section through your roller as you turn the handle. You might do this once or twice or even three times on different settings. Be ready to catch the dough comming out from the back of the machine. Once we got it flat we must let it rest 10 to 15 minutes under a dry towel. Resting time varies depending on the kitchen’s heat, humidity, and ventilation. Don’t be afraid to turn it over to help it dry evenly. DON’T OVER DRY them, as they will become too dry and crack when you cut them. There are many machine cutters. I never have used them. It’ll be like your pasta machine though.

Some examples of machine cuts are Fettuccine and tonnarelli.  Fettuccine [Little ribbons] – Use the broader set of cutters for fettuccine; the pasta can initially be rolled as thick or thin as you’d like. Tonnarelli is from lazio and is a  versatile style is square; i.e., the depth and width are equal.  Therefore, when running the dough through the rollers, continue doing so until the width matches that of the cutter’s depth, so the end result will be square.  You may need to experiment with your machine to determine which setting is ideal.

I tend to make hand made pastas using any none serrated knife. Typically my butcher knife. A few of the ones I make are:

  • Pappardelle – This noodle originated in Bologna and is typically ¾” to 1” wide.  Lay a sheet of pasta on your work space and cut with a fluted pastry wheel.
  • Tagliatelle – Also originated in Bologna, this noodle is typically wider and perhaps thinner than fettuccine, say ½” wide (fettuccine is ¼”).  The easiest way to cut this pasta is to loosely roll a pasta sheet lengthwise, then cut crosswise every quarter inch.
  • Maltagliati [Badly cut] – This small, random-shaped pasta is great for soups, especially pasta e fogioli [pasta and beans].  It is usually a mixture of various triangles, squares, and trapezoids.  The only important thing here is that the shapes are roughly the same size so they will cook to the same consistency.  Roll a pasta sheet lengthwise like tagliatelle.  Using your sharp knife, make a point on one of the ends by cutting each corner.  Then cut crosswise to make a small triangle.  Continue doing so until the whole roll is cut.

If you look around online you can find tons of machines and cutters that will allow you to make all sorts of shapes. The type of pasta sometimes requires you to take and cut the pasta as it’s comming out of the machine. Like elbow maccaroni they are extruded from the machine and sliced to size as they are comming out. Has pasta machines starting at 20 dollars. They also got a few types of rolling pins, chittaras, peirogi and dumpling makers.  You may have to stop around for other types of attatchments. Again I don’t got a machine so not sure where to source them.

To me the best way to dry your pasta is in nests grab several ribbons of pasta and form into a small nest.  Dry them overnight (in dry climates) or for a full 24 hours (in more humid climates).  Any less drying time will result in mold forming on the pasta.  Once completely dried, the nests can be placed in shoe boxes (with a few ventilation holes cut in them) layered with a paper towel in between.  Maltagliati can be stored in a sealed plastic bag after it has been completely dried in my experiance.

There is no need to refrigerate completely dried pasta – keep in a dry cupboard or pantry.  The pasta, when boiled, will produce the same luscious result as if cooked immediately after it was made!

Now for what you’ve been hankering for. The recipes!

Beginners doughs
Basic northern 5 egg dough

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 5 large eggs

Emu egg dough

  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 emu egg

Intermediate doughs
Goose egg dough

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of semolina flour
  • 1 goose eggs
  • 1 hen egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water

Duck egg dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 duck egg
  • ¼ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

Expert doughs-Lots of ingredients and can be overwhelming and need a very large surface

Ostrich dough for a wedding

  • 15 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/4 cups semolina
  • 1 ostrich egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Ostrich dough# 2

  • 5 1/2 pounds type ’00’ flour (about 20 cups!)
  • 1 ostrich egg

Now you’ve made your dough. Time to cook it…I got some tips for how to do it the right way. These are the Pasta commanments.

  1. Cooking time is about 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta.
  2. To stop cooking the pasta before draining, pour in a bit of Ice cold water (1 cup per pound of pasta).
  3. Egg pastas are porous and soak up water, so it will weigh a lot after cooking! Don’t throw your back out lift with your knees not your back!
  4. Use your biggest pan! It gives the pasta room to move and prevents sticking.
  5. Two thirds of the pan is water, don’t use less! Ostrich doughs you may need to cook in batches!
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water unless the pasta has salt in it.
  7. The sauce must be made in a pan big enough to hold the sauce and the pasta. You add pasta to sauce, not sauce to pasta.
  8. Taste the pasta before the stated cooking time is up: it may be done sooner. Al dente means to the tooth.
  9. Drain the pasta fast. The longer it sits the more it absorbs and won’t absorb that yummy sauce you spent all day making….unless you got it from a jar.
  10. Never rinse cooked pasta – you’ll wash off all the starch which is essential for the texture of the sauce.
  11. Allow a gallon of water per pound of pasta. Even when boiling a small amount of pasta, use a minimum of three quarts water. Failure to do so will result in clumping and a gummy texture.
  12. Never add olive oil to the water to prevent clumping. (This is an american technique and a major no no for us italians.)
  13. It is an American practice to attempt to thicken the sauce with pasta water. This will render the sauce dull, starchy, and even alkaline. Don’t spoil the balance of your beautiful pasta and sauce with pasta water.
  14. If your sauce is butter or cream-based, add a pat of butter to the pasta while tossing.
  15. Serve and enjoy while it’s still hot.

There you have it. Homemade pasta….but wait more recipes!

How can you just have pasta without sauce. When making a tomato based sauce there is three types.

Long simmering sauces achieve a rich, complex flavor. Cooking time can range from two hours to all day, depending on how thick and caramelized you like your sauce.

Barely-cooked sauces have a lighter flavor more recognizable of fresh tomatoes, but a little bit of cooking softens the tomatoes and brings out their sweetness. Briefly cooking the sauce helps retain the tomatoes’ fresh, tart-sweet taste, but also heats them long enough to add depth of flavor. Caramelize some onions, sauté garlic, and simmer herbs long enough to infuse the sauce with their flavors.

Uncooked sauces are bright and refreshing, and are best made with thoroughly ripe summer tomatoes. o make it, use fresh tomatoes at their peak of ripeness, when they are sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor.

Long simmering
Sauce #1

  • 10 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Burgundy wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Ragu Bolognese

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 pound guanciale or panchetta
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (secrete recipe but you can find out how to do your own here: I can tell you it uses roma tomatoes.)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or chicken stock,plus extra
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • grated Parmesan for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Place celery, carrot and onion in a food processor and pulse till finely chopped. Saute the vegetables in olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground meats. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the meats as they cook.

When the meats become a light golden color (approximately 6-8 minutes), add the wine or chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Cook until the wine has almost reduced then add the tomato paste, tomatoes and more wine or stock if needed. Bring to a boil then simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the milk during the last half hour of cooking.

At this time the sauce will be a medium thick consistency. If it’s too dry, add more wine or stock. If it’s not thick enough, allow to simmer longer to reduce and thicken.

Barely cooked


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sautee onion and garlic 2-4 minutes in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Tomato pepper

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and crush tomatoes, add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. (Boil tomatos till the skin splits to peel them, then cool under cold running water, and peel off the skin.)

Fresh sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together simmer for 30 minutes.

Uncooked sauces

Alla checca

  • 5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 2-10 hours covered in a bowl with plastic wrap. Add your pasta and toss.

Blender sauce

  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 small tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Take a head of garlic, slice off the tops of the garlic bulb drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool. Squeeze garlic out into blender. Add in remaining ingredients and puree till smooth.

Summer sauce

  • 2 pounds vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry

Add all ingredients into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap after mixing together and let stand for 2 to 10 hours mixing every hour.

There you go pasta sauce. Now your ready to go out there and make your own pastas right down to a pasta sauce.

Taglia il pane, Apri il vino, Buon appetito.

Cut the bread, open the wine bottle, have a good meal.

Sorry for the inactivity

I’d like to take this time to post and appologize to everyone for letting this blog of mine become inactive. I’m in the middle of creating my very first cook book. My goddess has been telling me to do a resturaunt but I figure if I did, the cost of it is a problem. If it tanks and in this economy it probably would it would leave my family and myself in debt. So I figued the next best thing to do was to write a cookbook. This moment I am working on learning the food photography, trying to get a good camera set up so I can take my own photos.

I don’t want to slam the professionals, but I am learning there is a lot of trickery in the food photography business. For example it is not uncommon for cotton balls to be placed behind food after being dipped in boiling water in a cold room to convey that it is steaming hot and fresh. Other tricks are spraying food with Polyurathane to give it a hot and juicy appearance. Polyurathane is a type of plastic, so your not going to be able to eat the food. Cerals they don’t use milk, it’s elmers glue. That’s right the same stuff you used in school during art class. I believe this is low down and dirty. This book, I ain’t using any of this trickery and none of the food is going to waste.

I will warn you, this cook book is not for the squeemish. I’m also going to try to add information on where to obtain herbs, spices, ingrediants, and harvesting.

What’s hanging me up right now is a book cover, title and the actual writing part.