Curing Olives

Green Olives photo by Lusitana

When olives are raw, they are very bitter. By curing olives, it allows the bitter substance to soften the olive and in turn makes it tender as well. If the olives are to be cured in a brine, it can be water and salt or vinegar and salt. You can also cure olives in water or in lye. They can also be dry cured as well in salt.

Curing olives is not that difficult, once you find a method that works for you.  More than anything, with whatever method you choose, you will have to wait a bit for your olives to fully cure.  Waiting is probably the hardest part of the curing process.  Below are a couple of basic ways to cure olives.

Green olives should be cracked and soaked in water, for about eight day, while frequently changing the water, then you can add salt and let it cure for a few months. A simple brine solution is 2 pounds of olives, 1 quart of water and 3 1/2 ounces of salt.

Black olives should be pricked with a pin about 5 or so times or it can be scored with a knife and then treated in salt, either dry or in a brine solution. If you are dry curing the black olives, alternate layers of olives and crushed rock salt (use 2 pounds of olives and 3 1/2 ounces of salt). Put in big bowl and toss frequently for about 7 days. Make sure to add enough salt to prevent bacteria from forming, but not too much as it will cause the olive to shrivel up in wrinkles.

However way you cure your olives, you’ll find they are useful and delicious in a variety of recipes, and one you should definitely try is an olive tapenade.  What better way to get your olive oil benefits?

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