cure your own olives

Sort out defective fruits. Place good olives in a container that can be
made airtight. A 1-quart glass jar is the smallest size recommended.
Clean, 5-gallon plastic buckets with lids can effectively store about 20
pounds of olives.

Cover the olives with a brine containing ¾ cup of salt per 1 gallon of
water. Fasten the lids loosely. Store the olives in a cool place (60° to
80° F).

At the end of 1 week, replace the original brine with one containing 1¾
cups (1 pound) of salt per gallon of water, again leaving the covers
loose. It is quite normal for the first brine to have a wine aroma. It
is also normal for some mold to form during fermentation. You can
submerge into the bucket or jar a sealed, ceramic plate. This keeps the
olives from floating to the surface, which keeps mold from forming on
the surface.

After 15 days, replace the brine with the same concentration as step 4.
Seat the covers firmly. If pressure forms, carefully loosen the cover to
release the gas and then close it firmly.

If you prefer less bitter olives, you can replace the full-strength
brine at 1-month intervals for 2-3 months after the 1st brine. If you
keep the olives airtight in brine, you can store them for at least 1
year. 8 lbs. ripe olives sea salt a bucket or crock

garlic (whole or slivered)
fresh rosemary
whole dried chile
lemon peel
whole coriander seed
branches of fresh thyme, marjoram & oregano
fennel seed


2 c. red wine
2 c. vinegar
2 c. brine from vat
2 T. sea salt

You may "finish" the olives in an herbed brine just prior to eating.
Soaking in an herbed brine for 3-5 days is sufficient. You may vary the
brines enormously to taste. A basic brine contains salt, water and
vinegar. I would recommend using a red wine vinegar, although rice
vinegar or champagne vinegar lends a more delicate flavor. Adding red or
white wine gives the olives a slightly sweet finish. Consider adding any
of the herbs listed in the margin.



(harvested from mid-to-late Oct.) fennel stalks bay leaves dried orange
peel coriander seeds sea salt sifted hardwood ashes (2nd method) Rap
each olive lightly with a mallet, just splitting the skin. Soak the
olives in cold water for ten days-the water should be changed frequently
(I'm guessing every other day). This process draws out the bitterness
from the olives.

Drain the olives and rinse. Prepare a brine by mixing 3 oz. of coarse
sea salt per quart of water. Add the fennel stalks (wild fennel is
actually recommended in the book), bay leaves, a strip of dried orange
peel and a few coriander seeds. Bring to a boil. Then leave to cool and

Pack the olives in the aromatic brine for at least a week, although they
will keep in the brine until Christmas (two months) before they begin to
lose their bright green color. Olives Écachées will keep until Easter.

A second method for curing green olives does not bruise the olives.
Instead, prepare a thin paste of water and the sifted ashes from a
hardwood fire. Put the olives in this paste for six days, stirring often
(I'm guessing once or twice a day). Rinse well. Then soak the olives in
repeated changes of cold water (again, I'm guessing every day or so) for
ten days. Following this, put the olives into a brine as given for
olives écachées. These olives should be less bitter, and should hold
longer, than olives écachées. ^*^*^*^*

Green ripe olives:

Lye treated green olives - This recipe courtesy U.C. Davis publications

A. Lye treatment - lye can be purchased at hardware stores. Don't use an
aluminum pot or it will leach out the zinc

1. Soak 12 hours in lye solution - 4 tablespoons lye in 1 gallon cold
water. (Solution should not be over 64 to 70 F before adding olives.)
stir occasionally.

2.Drain, and soak 12 more hours in fresh lye solution. Cut into a large
olive - lye will change the flesh to a yellow-green, penetrating to the
pit. 1.If the lye has not penetrated to the pit, soak an additional 12
hours in a fresh lye solution.

B. Rinse

1. Rinse in cold water

2.Soak 6 hours in fresh, cold water. 1.Change the water and soak 6 hours
in fresh cold water, repeating four times a day for 4-8 days, until
there is no lye taste


To keep up to 2 weeks:

1.Brine cure l. Cover with salt brine - 6 tablespoons salt per gallon of
water. Let stand 2 days. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

To keep longer than 2 weeks:

2.Brine cure ll. 1.Step 1. Cover with salt brine - 13 tablespoons salt
per gallon of water. Store 1 week. 2.Step 2. Cover with fresh salt brine
- 1 pound or 1 2/3 cups salt per gallon of water. Store in a cool place,
preferably a refrigerator. Use within 2-4 months. Before eating, soak
olives overnight to remove excess salt. Use with 3 days after soaking.

3. Pickling. Prepare a vinegar-water solution - equal parts vinegar and
water. Add salt to the vinegar-water solution: ½ to 1-cup salt per
gallon - do not omit salt as it prevents bacterial growth. Add garlic an
spices if desired. Cover tightly and store at room temperature. Good for
4-5 months at room temperature or 10-12 months in the refrigerator.

Stan's Green Olives (and half ripe ones)

Any variety - Collect olives by hand in a clean plastic bucket to
prevent bruising. Day O Wash in running water. Add boiling hot water and
allow to soak for 24 hours. Day 1 Pour of cold water add more boiling
water Day 2 Pour of cold water add more boiling water Day 3 Pour of cold
water. Place the olives into clean jars. add a mixture of brine and
white (or any other type) vinegar in the proportions of 3 to 1 by volume

Brine = 10%w/v salt in water that is 100grams/litre of final solution

Fill jars well and add a layer of olive oil.

We eat the olives by both methods after one week. When the olives are at
their most tastiest they have all gone!

Prof Stan Kailis, University of Western Australia, Perth WA

Some web sites with green olive recipes:

Oil Cured Greek Style Olives

This is one of several recipes from U.C. Davis publication 2758 - Home
Pickling of Olives. Go to "Books" for ordering information

It is usually best to prepare Greek-style olives from mature olives that
are dark-red to black. Mission olives are commonly used, but any variety
will do. Use smaller olives because larger ones get soft. The olives
will become shriveled since they are salt cured. These olives are salty
and slightly bitter, and you may have to acquire a taste for them.

How To Prepare

Cover the bottom of a wooden box with burlap. Weigh out 1 pound of salt
for each 2 pounds of olives. Mix the salt and olives well in the box to
prevent mold from developing. Pour a layer of salt over the olives to a
depth of 1 inch. CAUTION Place the box outdoors so that the brine formed
will not ruin the floor.

After 1 week, pour olives and salt into another box, then back into the
first box to mix them. Repeat this mixing process once every 3 days
until the olives are cured and edible. This usually takes about 30 to 35

Sift out most of the salt through a screen. Dip the olives momentarily
in boiling water. Drain. Let them dry overnight.

Add 1 pound of salt to each 10 pounds of olives. Mix and put the olives
in a cool place. Use within 1 month, or store in a refrigerator or home
freezer until used. Just before using, coat the olives with olive oil.
Do not use oil if you plan to use the olives for cooking. To coat with
oil, put them in a large pan or box and sprinkle a little olive oil over
them. Work the olives with your hands to coat them with oil. This type
of olive is useful for flavoring stews, tamale pie, spaghetti, and as a
relish eaten out-of-hand.

Stan's Black Olives

Day O Wash in running water. P;lace in flat trays (large surface area)
or plastic ice cream containers. Add boiling hot water and allow to soak
for 24 hours. Day 1 Remove cold water and add dry salt day 2 Onwards -
mix well and keep adding dry salt After about a week water comes out of
the olives - pour off Total salt = about 15% OF THE OLIVE WEIGHT IE 150
To 200 grams Test - wash salt off olive and taste. When the salt has
penetrate into the olive, wash off salt and add olive oil.

Prof Stan Kailis, University of Western Australia, Perth WA

Flavoring Olive Oils

Our friend Tony Pennisi at Big Paw Grub makes some excellent infused
oils using dried wild herbs. He says that the intensity of the flavor
varies with the season, whether the herbs are wild or domestic, how the
local growing conditions have been, etc. etc. It takes a lot of trial
and error. Its more art than science and the people who are good at it
are reluctant to share their trade secrets. The oil will pick up the
flavor fairly quickly, in the first few weeks, and then slowly
intensify. Its OK to leave the herbs in for a long time, eventually all
the flavor leaves the herbs and the oil flavor stabilizes. Most oil
sellers keep it simple and use one herb at a time. I have seen smoke
flavoring added to an herb or peppers added to any one of the herbs.
When mixing herbs, think salad dressing. Look at some recipes for
dressing and substitute the dried herbs for any fresh herbs called for
in the recipe. A dipping blend is like an Italian dressing with much
more oil than vinegar.

Flavored olive oils and dressings make great gifts but watch out; there
are safe and unsafe ways to make flavored olive oil. The unsafe way is
to put anything in the oil that contains water. That would include
garlic, lemon peel, fresh peppers, fresh herbs and spices. The oil will
not support bacterial growth but the water containing herbs will.
Botulism bacteria can grow in this type of environment. There are
several ways to get around this

1. Mix all the ingredients, refrigerate them and use them within a week

This is the best way if you are using fresh ingredients such as fresh
basil, fresh rosemary or garlic.

Garlic: ideal for adding to pasta dishes, then top with a little grated
dry cheese. Fill a decorative 1-litre bottle with extra virgin olive
oil. Add a clean head of garlic (whole if desired), and leave to
marinade for a few days.

2. Preserve the added ingredients:

Maybe you have seen garlic or herbs mixed with oil. The way it is done
commercially is to first preserve the water-containing garlic, herb,
etc. with a strong brine or vinegar solution, then put it in the oil.
The vinegar solutions used commercially are up to 4 times stronger than
the vinegars you find in the supermarket. You can find them at
commercial food supply outlets. Many of the herb mixes have both salt
and vinegar which both prevent bacterial growth. You could use one of
the olive pickling solutions listed above. Commercial vinaigrettes and
sauces also have chemical preservatives not usually available to the
home cook.

3. Dry the herbs to remove all water, leaving the essential oils:

This can be done with a food dehydrator or just by leaving in the sun.
Then add the spices and herbs. Whole sprigs of thyme, rosemary, dried
peppers, etc. can decorate the inside of the bottle this way.

4. Press the olives with the spices

Putting lemon, garlic, etc. in the olive press with the olives is the
safest way to flavor oil. You must have your own olive press
or take it to a commercial press. The oils from the added
ingredients mingle with the olive oil and the watery part of the spices
are removed along with the olive water. You could add essential spice
oils to the olive oil to achieve the same effect.

Check out our bottle selection for home cooks who want beautiful
containers for their gift oil, dressing or vinegar. We also sell bulk
oil for your private labeling