Olives - how to cure them for eating

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Joanna Savage

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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 07:24:42 AM »
Back to Norwegian Jorun and our unformed tastes when young. My maternal grandparents were Norwegian although we lived in Queensland. My grandmother used to refer to the oily-greasy mediterranean food. She loved fish balls and meat balls cooked in a rich dairy sauce.
My first taste of olive oil as salad dressing, when I was about 20, was pure bliss and I have loved mediterranean cuisine ever since.


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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 06:34:56 PM »
I have lived in Greece for over 40 years and this is the first time I have been able to understand the recipe for curing olives.
Many thanks.
I will try it next autumn when they sell olives in the street market.
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care


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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2013, 06:12:35 PM »
Glad to be of help, Hilary, and thanks for your kind words. I don't have a recipe for the small black crinkly olives.
I use the method with the water changes for Kalamata olives, Yvesans, and it works well (they might need 15-18 days). I presume slitting or smashing the olives first hastens the bitterness leaching out.
Surfingdevil, the results of your experiment on water vs dry curing should be interesting.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.



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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2013, 08:07:27 PM »
Alisdair, if you taste an olive straight from the tree, don't you taste any bitterness at all?
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.



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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 02:14:12 PM »
Yes, Jorun, I do taste olive bitterness, presumably as it's different from the prop-type bitterness that I can't taste in other things.
What I'm interested to know is whether some people vary genetically in sensitivity to olive bitterness, just as other people vary in sensitivity to propylthiouracil bitterness. My guess is that there will be some people who can't taste olive bitterness - and it may be their ancestors who first started eating olives, just as it may be the ancestors of people like me who first started eating brussels sprouts. (But I don't feel to blame for that!)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society



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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2013, 06:46:39 PM »
Oil cured olives:
Hi, I have some articles about this opic - I was sure it was from MGI homepage, but maybe not, if you have not found anything. You can try to google it. The one is "Olives Australia's Favourite Method" (no author mentioned). The other is "Pickling Peasant Style" by Lynne Chatterton, Umbria, Italy (Extracted from Australian Olive Grower, Issue 5, January 1998). Very interesting articles.
The recipie in the above mentioned article is:
1. Loosely pack the ripe black olives in clean jars with course salt (50% salt, 50% olives).
2. Shake the jars each day and turn them over (the jars will need to be placed on trays when they are upsidedown as some water will leak out).
3. Repeat for 7 or 10 days or until the salt is completely wet.
4. rinse off the salt and leave the olives to drain for 1-2 hours.
5. Pack the olives in canning jars with lots of olive oil and any of the optional ingredients (lemon, dried chillies, fresh or dried thyme, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh or dried rosemary).
6. Store jars in a cool dark place.
7. After one to two months open one jar and taste to see if they are ready. If not, leave a few weeks longer.
Living in Denmark and part time growing olives in the coastal Peloponnese, near Kiveri, close to Nafplion. MGS member since 2010.


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Re: Olives - how to cure them for eating
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 05:21:21 AM »

I've evolved my own recipe over the years for pickling olives and this is the one I'm using currently.

All steps conducted in a clean plastic bucket with a lid, using a closely fitting plate to hold the olives under the surface and prevent them from floating.
Make a solution of 50g/L of caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide) and soak your olives in this for 2 or 3 hours.
Pour off the lye solution and replace with fresh water.
Change the water every day for a week.
Make a brine of 100g of salt/L of water and soak olives in this for a week.
After a week discard the brine and replace it with a fresh lot, the same strength.
After a week discard the brine and replace it with fresh water again.
After 2 or 3 days make a brine of 50g/L salt and 50mls/L vinegar - boil and allow to cool.
Bottle the olives in this cooled, boiled brine and I keep mine in a big jar in the fridge.

Advantages of using the lye are;

No need to slit the olives as it renders the skins permiable
Quicker extraction of large fraction of the tannins speeding up the whole process
Kills bacteria and moulds in the first step which sometimes spoil olives during pickling
Sodium hydroxide is completely neutralised by acids within the olive fruit and washed away leaving no dangerous chemical residue.
No chemicals present in the finished olives which aren't in olives cured by salt and water alone.

Long hot summers, mild wet winters. Rainfall approx. 600mm pa.
Summer maximums over 40 degrees, winter minimums occasionally below freezing.
Gardening on neutral clay loam and sandy loam.