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Figure 7-7. Types of olives and their manufacture. Adapted from Harris, 1998 and Romero et. al., 2004.

coliforms, Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Clostridium and other Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria during the first two to four days, especially when low salt brines are used, and before a lactic fermentation can begin in earnest.This so-called first stage of the fermentation is then followed by a second stage, initiated primarily by L. mesenteroides and Pediococcus sp. Once the pH nears 5.0, non-lactics are inhibited, and the brine consists only of lactic acid bacteria. After two to three weeks, L. plantarum, L. bre-vis, Lactobacillus fermentum, and other lacto-bacilli displace the leuconostocs, and eventually L. plantarum dominates the third stage of the fermentation. The appearance of facultative yeasts at the end stage of the fermentation, however, is not uncommon, nor undesirable, since they may produce ethanol, acetaldehyde, and other flavor compounds. In contrast, growth of Propionibacterium acnes is to be avoided, since this organism can raise the pH by fermenting lactic acid.

When the fermentation is complete, the final pH after three to four weeks (or longer for barrel-fermented olives) should be within a range of 3.5 to 4.2, with a titratable acidity (as lactic) of 0.8 to 1.0. Following the fermentation, Spanish-style olives can be pitted, pitted and stuffed (e.g., with pimentos), or packed directly into jars. Pasteurization to promote extended shelf-life is optional.

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