Lebanese souri olives don’t get the acknowledgment they deserve in the UK. Overshadowed by more commercial varieties from larger olive producing countries in the Mediterranean, souri olives are unique to the eastern Mediterranean.
Zejd souri olives are picked when still green, which makes them rich in antioxidants. The stones aren’t removed to help preserve their firm texture and make for a satisfying chew. This lets you savour their exceptionally aromatic and sharp taste.
Curing olives in Lebanon is a tradition which each family continues today, adding their own touch to each recipe. Zejd’s method follows the traditions of the region where they’re grown, in Beino, north Lebanon. The olives are left to soak in water which is changed several times until it runs clear. Then they are cracked before being put in the preserving solution. Zejd’s recipe adds a little white grape vinegar to the salt and water.
In Lebanon olives appear at most meals, particularly breakfast. A little olive oil is added along with a squeeze of lemon. They make a fresh addition to a breakfast of labneh, zaa’tar and flat bread.
Rather than throwing the liquid away, why not keep it in the fridge? When you’re next making a stew, sauce or soup, add a tablespoon or two (always tasting first to check its saltiness). It’ll add depth and flavour to your dish – and it’s a canny way of making your purchase go further!
For more stories about green cracked souri olives