You’ve planted an olive tree and now it’s bursting with plump fruit, ready to be enjoyed. But, unlike grapes, unfortunately you can’t just pick an olive and pop it straight into your mouth (or at least it won’t taste too great if you do). It needs to be cured in brine for weeks before it tastes anything like the bought olives you love. Here’s the easiest way to turn your homegrown gems into tasty delights.
- Step 1: Pick then sort olives, removing any that are damaged or deformed. Remove odd stems and leaves from olives to be cured. Rinse well with water.
- Step 2: Place olives on a cutting board. Prick each several times with a fork or make 3 slits in skin using a serrated knife.
- Step 3: Put 10 cups water into a clean bucket. Add ½ cup sea salt or cooking salt. Put olives in bucket, ensuring all are submerged – you can put a plate on top to keep olives under solution, if required.
- Step 4: Pour out and replace saltwater with fresh saltwater each day. Do this for about 12 days for green olives and about 10 days for black olives.
- Step 5: Bite into an olive to test – if bitterness is almost gone, your olives are ready for final salting.
- Step 6: Pour off and measure last lot of saltwater so you know how much brine to make.
- Step 7: Measure and put that quantity of warm water into a pan. Add and dissolve salt at a ratio of 1 cup salt to 10 cups water. Bring to the boil. Allow to cool.
- Step 8: Put olives into a jar. Pour brine over them until all are submerged. Top jar with 1cm of olive oil, tightly screw on lid to seal and put in a cool cupboard. You can store your olives like this for at least 12 months.
- Step 9: When you’re ready to eat, pour out brine and fill jar with clean, cool water. Leave in refrigerator for 24 hours, then bite to test. If they’re too salty, empty water and replace with fresh water. Leave in fridge for another 24 hours and test again. Repeat until your olives are just as you like them.