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How do you pickle olives?

Posted by administrator on December 2, 2023
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Olives are inedible if you pick them straight from the tree. That is why olive oil is made from it, potted or dried. The salt extracts the bitter liquid from the olives and makes them edible, but this is a process.

Preserving olives does not require fancy ingredients or expensive materials: just kitchen salt, boiled water (let it cool) then it is a matter of patience, so in Spanish, mañana, mañana. Pickling the olives reduces the bitter taste, making them edible.

Canning can be done during all stages of ripening, from the hard green olive to the riper black olive.  
There are as many methods as there are experts. One will tell you to score the olives, right down to the pit, before you brine them. Others don't think this is necessary at all. Basically there are two ways to pickle olives: wet and dry. With both you use large plastic buckets with lids or collect a few canning jars and iodine-free salt. 

Preserving brine

You can use this simple method for both green and black olives. The green olive is more bitter so first let the olives soak in a large bucket of water with a lid on or in a few canning jars for 2 weeks and then change the brine water daily. 

Steps of making it

  1. Rinse the olives and discard any damaged ones. Make a slit in each olive with a sharp knife down to the pit, or give them a light tap with a meat mallet, but not too hard. Some skip this step by the way.
  2. Fill a 20-liter bucket with a lid three-quarters full with olives. Dissolve 1kg of salt in 20 liters of water and pour over the olives up to the brim and until the bucket begins to overflow. 
  3. Close with the lid and leave 6 to 12 months rest in a cool place. If you like olives to have a bitter taste, this is +- 3 to 4 months. The brine water releases gases and will form a foam layer on top of the water. This is the process of the brine water, you cannot remove the foam layer.
  4. Once sufficiently brined (tasting is still the best way to know when they are good), discard the brine and rinse the olives well under running water. 
  5. Discard damaged or soft olives and soak good ones in fresh water for two days. Discard the water from the olives and place them in clean preserving jars and cover with new brine, Ingredient 30ml (2 teaspoons) salt and 250ml wine vinegar for every liter of water. 
  6. Add flavors such as dried rosemary or thyme, laurel, (dried) garlic, pepper, grinded coriander seeds (coriander is not required, not everyone likes the taste) or a piece lemon peel.
  7. Pour at least an inch on top of this olive oil  to protect the olives, close the jar and let it sit for 1 month. After a month you can serve it.

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