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> The Tabun
> Best Foods from Palestine
> Palestinian Tabouleh in Guiness Book of Records - 2006
> Winter Traditions in Palestine
> Maklouba with eggplant
> Waraq Dawali
> Mahashi Recipe
> Juices, Pickles and Spirits
> Traditional Dishes in Palestine
> Meals and Foods
> Old Medical Recipes
> Welcome Coffee/Goodbye Coffee
> The Evolution of the Palestinian Kitchen
> The fig and grape seasons (mawasim al tazib):
> The Olive –Picking Season (mawsim al-zaytun):
> Harvest Time
Olives and olive oil were, and still are, the most valuable produce of the Palestinian countryside, and most village fields contained olive groves. The olive –picking seasons, which lasted between two and four weeks (depending on the number of olives trees a family owned), began in the late October or early November. In most villages, a specific date was set by the village council of elders announcing the beginning of the olive-picking season .Setting such a date was necessary in order to prevent individual peasants from competing with others by marketing their produce earlier. It also deterred villagers from picking their neighbour's olives, since family groves were adjacent to one anther and had no clear boundaries.
Early in the morning on the specified day, all the inhabitants of the village went to the olive groves with their mules and donkeys loaded with ladders, baskets, sacks, long sticks and food .Once there the men spread sheets on the ground beneath the trees climbed the trees or a ladder, and shook the olives down onto the sheets. Alternatively the branches were beaten with long sticks .Women and children then put the olives in the straw baskets which were emptied into large sacks.
The olive seasons were a festive time for the villagers, and the strenuous labor was often accompanied by songs celebrating the quality of their produce and the collective spirit of their work.
Before dark, the whole family loaded the sacks of olives on the mules and donkeys and returned to the village. There the olives were first piled up in heaps, then spread out either inside the house, outside in the courtyard ,or on the roofs of the houses They were left for three to four days to reduce the acidity of the olive oil.
Part of the olive harvest was processed for domestic consumption. Big green olives were selected, crushed by a stone, and pickled in brine with pieces of lemon and hot green peppers .Black olives were picked differently: after being heavily salted they were put away in sakes or baskets for two to three weeks, when they were soaked in hot boiling water to remove the bitterness; they were then stored in jars filled with water and olive oil.
The bulk of the oil harvest was taken by the men to the village or neighborhood oil press (badd). This consisted of two huge circular stones, the upper of which was generally turned by a mule, donkey or horse, pressing the olives underneath; the oil flowed into a channel and was collected in jars. The residue of olives was pressed again in flat baskets, the oil from this second pressing being of lower quality than that obtained from the first. The crushed residue was used as fuel. The oil was carried home in jars, some for household consumption, the rest for sale in the market. Unlike fruits and vegetables, which were normally marketed in small quantities by women in nearby towns, olives and olive oil were marketed in the towns by men.
Source: Amiry, Suad and Tamari, Vera: The Palestinian Village Home, 1989.
Source: The Palestinian Village Home