Table olives processing - Recipes Table olives can be processed according to the American method, which involves heat treatment, or by any of several other methods. Some of these recipes require the chemical removal of bitterness through an alkali-leaching process (so-called treated olives) while other recipes call for a more natural, slower removal of bitterness (eg through repeated water washes or controlled fermentation). Most recipes depend on specific micro-biological processes that have specific temperature, pH and saline requirements. lf not met, the lack could result in spoilage, serious losses and disastrous health consequences. On the other hand, overheating, too-high acidity or a too high salt content can impair eating quality. Sometimes olives are sold which have undergone spoilage, such as zapateira and which have the penetrating stench of decomposing organic material. Some consumers and processors actually consider this srnell to be a quality attribute of this type of olive. Unfortunately, many potential consumers are put off eating olives forever after being exposed to such inferior procucts. Commercial table olive processors have to ensure a safe product with a long shelf-life, so they tend to maintain high salt and/or acid levels in the product. Home processors, on the other hand, have more atitude in preparing a product suited to treir personal taste usually adiing various herbs, spices and so on. Many traditional commercial processing techniques involve the use of large quantities of water, salts and alkalis. They also produce waste water conatining phenols and other organic matter which can be environmental pollution hazards. Take care to minimise effluents through reusing brines, using alternative processes and products (such as natural debittering and at least partial substitution of sodium with potassium in salts and lyes).