I have been looking for an EASY recipe for curing olives at home for years. Finally I got a blog from a fellow blogger with an easy recipe for curing olives using salt.
I have over 5 giant olive trees in our garden and they produce an abundance of olives – thousands of olives. Every year they just end up on the floor, and every year I look for a recipe to salvage these olives and cure them at home. I had the hardest time finding a good recipe. I even asked my neighbor who has a huge olive grove for an easy olive curing recipe. Even my neighbor couldn’t come up with a good option except for the recipe that require using lye (dangerous and not worth the effort).
Many cool ways to cure olives
Submerge sacks of olives in a running river
When we were talking about olives, he shared this very interesting way his grandfather used to cure olives back in Italy. He said they would place fresh olives in big sacks and tie them to the branches of trees that hung over their local streams. The sacks were submerged in water, and over time with the ripples of the flowing stream, the olives got the bitterness naturally removed. After a couple of weeks they were ready to be pickled. What a cool story!
Salt and sheets of cheese cloth in a basement
My neighbor also shared another process for curing olives that involved placing olives with sea salt in-between giant sheets of cheese cloths. He said he left them in his basement for a few weeks and the olives just released their bitter gunk onto the dirt floor, and what was left were salt- brined olives. But he did point out that it was a messy process as the gunk from the olives makes a giant gross mess on the floor. I opted not to try this way of curing my olives 😝.
Cure olives in pillowcase
A comment I received from a reader is how they they’ve cured black olives with only salt — in a ratio of 1 part salt to 2 parts olives — in an old, clean, pillowcase. To quote her “Yes, there is some drainage but, since I do it outside, the “gunk” is not a problem. Suspend the pillowcase over a container — I use a plastic basin — and turn or shake the bag every few days to be sure all the olives get salted. My method takes longer, about 3 months, but uses much less salt. Once the olives are cured to you taste, rinse well with water and seal them in jars with either brine or (my preference) olive oil, and your chosen spices — garlic cloves are nice, rosemary leaves even nicer.“
Finally a practical solution to curing olives at home
Finally a couple months ago I received a blog post from a reader of mine who has her own blog called sba’skitchen.com. She posted a story about buckets of olives that she had received from her friends and how she was planning to cure them herself. That got me intrigued. I wondered how was she going to cure so many olives? I reached out to her and asked her what her recipe for home cured olives was – and she had one!
Julie posted a recipe for curing olives at home with detailed instructions Home Cured Olives on sba’skitchen.com. I even got clarification on a few instructions and got very helpful hints back.
Julie even suggested I host an olive-picking party. She suggested I invite a few friends to pick the olives and gave me ideas on how to pick the olives too. One of her suggestions was to lay large sheets or tarp at the base and around the olive trees and use sticks to shake the olives off the tree.
This olive curing recipe from sba’skitchen.com is amazing! Very easy to follow and requires just three ingredients – fresh olives, water and sea salt! This is my kind of recipe. Simple to follow, with ingredients that are easy to find.
Curing olives for the first time a success!
I am so excited to report that for the first time in my life I cured olives!! These olives taste outstanding and are as delicious as any olive marinade I have had from any gourmet deli. My family couldn’t believe how good my olives tasted!
Here are a few pictures of my olive-curing process
Wash the olives
Soak in brine. Rinse and repeat for 8-12 days
Get ready to make marinade with herbs and spices
Bottling and storage
Ready to eat!
If you have olive trees like I do that bear thousands of fruit, try curing olives at home. For an easy and simple olive curing recipe take a look at this outstanding recipe from sba’s kitchen Home Cured Olives on sbaskitchen.com
A very special thank you to Julie from sba’skitchen.com for accepting my request to post an olive curing recipe! I’ll be making lots more jars of olive marinade with next year’s harvest – maybe I’ll take Julie’s suggestion and even host an olive-picking party 😀.
Home Cured Olives
This recipe was given to my mother by a local producer from Moonambel in Victoria, many years ago. I have tried other recipes, but keep coming back to this one. SBASkitchen
- Freshly picked olives
- Salt (see notes)
- Place the olives into a bucket and cover with cold water to wash them. Strain the olives from the water, retaining both the olives and the water. Measure the amount of water and note the quantity, this will allow you to calculate how much brine you need make. You can now discard the water.
- To make your brine add the same amount of fresh clean water that you noted in step 1, to a large pan together with 100 g/3.5 oz of salt for each litre/2 pints of water. Bring the brine to boiling point, stirring to ensure that the salt has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool until it is cold. Pour into food grade bucket large enough to hold the olives and the brine.
- Make three slits in the skin of each olive with a small, serrated knife while turning the fruit between the thumb and index finger. (Discard any blemish or bruised fruit) The cutting allows the brine to penetrate the fruit thus drawing out the bitterness, and at the same time preserves it.
- Put the cut olives immediately into the brine.
- When all the olives are in the brine place a clean plate on top of the olives to keep the them submerged. All olives must be under the liquid.
- Each day, pour the liquid away and replace with fresh brine. Repeat this washing process for about 12 days for green olives and about 10 days for black (ripe) olives until the bitterness has nearly gone. The best test is to bite an olive. When the bitterness has nearly gone, the olives are ready for the final salting.
- As in step 1, strain the olives from the brine, retaining both the olives and the brine. Measure the amount of brine and note how much. You can now discard the brine. Measure that quantity of clean water into a pan and dissolve the salt, this time 200 g/7 oz of salt for each litre/2 pints of water. Bring the salt water preserving mixture to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside until it is cold.
- Place olives into clean jars and then pour the salt water brine over them until the fruit is completely submerged. Top up the bottles with up to one centimetre of olive oil to stop air getting to the fruit.
- Seal and lable.
- Store for at least 12 months in a cool cupboard.
- When curing olives, you should:
- Use only fresh, unbruised fruit.
- Make sure your utensils are clean.
- Only use glass, stainless steel, unchipped enamel or food grade plastic containers.
- Never use copper, brass, iron or galvanised utensils as they react with the olives and taint the flavour.
- Ensure that the olives are covered in brine and when placed in jars, the brine should cover the olives and then 1 cm of olive oil to prevent any air getting to the olives (the olives float in the brine) .
- Wipe the rim of the jars well to ensure a good seal.
- When choosing your salt, choose a good quality salt such as sea salt, rock salt or kosher salt. Always check to ensure that there are no additives such as thickeners and iodine.
- Apparently this recipe is an old Greek recipe and is very easy.
- Olives can be pickled when green or black. Black olives are just ripe olives and are used for pickling and also pressed for olive oil. Green olives are used for pickling.
- In season some of the olives begin to change towards black, at this time it is fairly safe to pick the green olives for pickling.
- If the tree is large, place cloth sheets on the ground and strip the fruit from the tree with your hands or with a rake with suitably spaced prongs. Collect the fruit from the sheet, removing odd stems and leaves as you go.
- When you want to use your olives, drain off the brine. Place the olives into another clean jar, or bowl and fill the jar with clean, cool water. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours, taste them, and if still too salty repeat the process and return to the refrigerator for a further 24 hours. (The plain water removes some of the salt from the olives). At this stage you can also add your favourite marinade, if you wish.
- This brining method eliminates the need to use a caustic soda solution that is used in commercial processing of olives.
- Preserving the Italian Way, P Demaio, 2006.
- Maggie Beer’s Autumn Harvest, M Beer, 2015, Penguin Random House.
- Smoking, Curing & Drying Meat & Fish, TT Turan, 2015, Stackpole Books.
- The Preserving Book, L Brown, 2010, Darling Kindersley..
Happy olive curing at home!