Home generalHarvesting olives: this is how you realize that they are ripe | harvest time

Harvesting olives: this is how you realize that they are ripe | harvest time

  • olives
    • harvest time
    • early
    • Middle stage
    • final stage
  • Harvesting olives: instructions

The cultivation of olives is always a bit adventurous in the native climes. Due to the Central European climate, it is not always possible to harvest olives from your specimens. However, it is important to know when the fruits are ripe and ready to be harvested. In comparison to other fruit-producing plants, olives undergo several stages of ripeness, which must be taken into account when harvesting.


When is the harvest time of the olives ">

harvest time

If you want to harvest olives, you have to wait for the right time. The fruits of the olive tree inspire with their intense taste and the preparation options that are possible after harvesting and picking. However, it is difficult to determine an exact harvest time for the drupes that you can orient yourself to.

Since olives ripen fruit extremely irregularly north of the Alps, you must be aware that this will also be the case with your specimens. The following points have a strong impact on the harvest timeframe.

  • Number of hours of sunshine
  • Time of the plant in unfiltered light
  • temperature
  • irrigation
  • variety

For example, if it's very sunny and warm for you, you can look forward to a harvest much sooner than when there are cool temperatures and the water supply is unfavorable. Apart from these points, olives develop in the native climes much later.

Thus, the average harvest period begins on the Mediterranean between early October to early December. In Germany, on the other hand, the first fruits do not show until mid-November and can be harvested until the end of February. During the ripening period, the olives go through three stages that produce different harvest results. The stadiums mainly affect the taste of the fruits.

Tip: The harvest time changes drastically in the German-speaking countries according to the region in which you live. While an olive tree in East Germany has to mature into the winter, you can look forward to the delicacies in the warm wine-growing regions, for example in the Palatinate or in Baden, at the beginning of November.


The early stages begin first at the beginning of the general harvest season and are for many the most popular time to harvest. If you harvest olives early, they will still be green and a little smaller on the tree. The green color is a sign of this and the same for every variety. These change only with the progressive stages to their sort-dependent color . In comparison to the other stages, early-harvested olives contain the largest amount of ingredients, which is clearly noticeable in the taste.

  • bitter
  • grassy flavors
  • fruity notes
  • fresh

Green olives are always the unripe fruits of Olea europaea, which are intensely green and extremely bitter in the raw state. They contain high amounts of polyphenols, which are responsible for the characteristic taste . Olives from the early stages are mainly used for the production of high quality olive oil .

If you want to consume them, you have to use them for a long time because of the bitter taste, to make them edible. For this reason, you will find many green varieties in the glass, which are much more intense flavor than later harvested. This stage will last for six to twelve weeks.

Middle stage

This stage represents a transition in which the color changes significantly. At first, the green color takes on a yellow tone and gradually changes to a purple red. As it progresses, the red-violet becomes darker and darker until it passes to the final stage. Even at this stage, the amount of polyphenols in the fruit begins to decrease, which makes them a little milder. At the same time, they become sharper, making them ideal for use in a variety of dishes . Furthermore, the following properties change over this period.

  • Olives become softer
  • Taste is matured
  • get a little bigger

If you harvest your olives at this time, you can make this much easier olive oil. Because the fruits are softer, they can be squeezed without great effort and thus reduce the waiting time for a good olive oil. The middle stage is also dependent on the weather and the external conditions . So you often have to wait another few weeks for the olives to pass over to the final stage. Definitely try one of these olives. The taste will inspire you.

final stage

When you harvest olives in the final stage, it is usually already deep winter north of the Alps. Since the harvest season starts so late in the year, most of the fruit ripens in winter quarters, as the outdoor temperatures are simply too low. Black olives have the mildest aroma of all stadiums and are poor for oil production.

The aromas are simply too weak to allow an intense tasting olive oil after pressing. But the fruits are much better suited for direct consumption, which can be recognized by the following characteristics.

  • mild aroma without too bitter or sharp notes
  • sweet notes are forming
  • lower durability
  • Hue differs greatly depending on the variety

Particularly striking at the end stage is the consistently black color of the olives. If you are harvesting the olives at this point, cut one up and look at the pulp and the kernel. The complete fruit including core is dark colored, which immediately catches the eye.

Likewise, you must make sure that they have significantly more calories due to an increased of fatty acids before eating the drupes. If you are on a diet, you should not eat too much of the harsh fruit, because that can quickly beat the figure.

Tip: Do not be surprised if your harvested olives are dyed black in the final stage to the core and are therefore clearly different from the dark fruits in the supermarket. These are colored with iron gluconate, which keeps the core green and indicates early harvested olives.

Harvesting olives: instructions

First: If you grow olives and live in Germany, you have to expect low crop yields. The sunshine hours are simply not enough to fill the whole crown of the tree with olives. An advantage can be drawn from this disadvantage, however, because the olive harvest is much easier and faster, because you do not have to deal with a large number of olive trees really long with this.

The following commercial harvesting methods are available:

  • pneumatic combing with tools that sweep the olives directly from the tree
  • Shakers shake the crown of the olive trees, whereupon they fall down
  • collecting the olives after they have fallen off by their own weight
  • the knocking down is a historical method by which the fruits are beaten off the branches

Of all these methods, none is really intended for use in your own garden. Since olive trees in Central Europe can not really be planted outdoors, they spend their lives in the tub . If it vibrates too much, it can tip over and damage the olive tree. Therefore, you should not use combs or vibrators for harvesting. Likewise, you should not use the stick to tackle the tree. On the other hand, picking up the fallen, ripe fruits is recommended, but it has a negative effect on the aroma.

It is best to pick the olives with the following instructions:

  • depending on the size of the tree you should use a ladder
  • Olive trees usually remain quite small in the bucket
  • tie a small bag around your waist
  • in this you collect the olives
  • That's important if you can get a rich crop
  • Now take an olive in your hand
  • Carefully break it off the branch
  • Mature specimens can be easily brushed off
  • put in the bag

Continue this way until the tree is either harvested or you have collected enough olives. The rest can quietly fall off the tree by itself and then be picked up by you. Just do not leave it too long, otherwise it will affect the taste.

Tip: Best place your olives after harvest. Due to the extremely low crop yields north of the Alps, you would need numerous olive trees to squeeze olive oil out of the stone fruits, which makes preserving much more sensible.

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