green cracked souri olives
food from home
For one half of shorkk, these green cracked souri olives mean “home”. We’ve tried a fair few since leaving Lebanon, but nothing came close to these souri olives. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of food from home. Tasting something which evokes the culture and life of a land left behind is a powerful thing. Being able to offer them to those who might never go to Lebanon, creates a bond over the shared enjoyment of an olive.
Grown at 550 metres above sea level on the slopes of hills around Beino, in north Lebanon, this variety has been cultivated here for hundreds of years. The variety is ideally suited to the terraced land where it grows. As a native variety, it is able to adapt to the challenges of climate change better than a new variety.
Curing olives is an important part of Lebanese culinary tradition. Families buy quantities of fresh green olives in the autumn at the beginning of the harvest to preserve at home using their own recipe.
The olives are washed, changing the water several times until it runs clear. This can take between 3 to 5 days. Then they are “cracked” with a heavy wooden mallet, before being put in a preserving solution. Zejd’s recipe adds a little white grape vinegar to the salt and water solution.
In Lebanon olives appear at most meals. They’re not an usually eaten as an aperitif. When served, they are drained from the brine, a little extra virgin olive oil is added with a squeeze of lemon to give them a glossy coat. Delicious for breakfast with labneh, za’atar, cucumbers tomatoes and flat bread.