How to Cure Olives

Learn how to cure olives the Greek way, including materials, photographs, instructions, processing, cooking and food ideas.


| January/February 1976



Greek Olives

Buying olives in the store can be expensive. It's easy to cure your own olives at home and cut down the price.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/AQUARIAGIRL1970

One of the first things I noticed when I moved into my apartment here in Chula Vista, California — a few miles south of San Diego — was the fine old olive trees growing among the landscaped shrubbery and lawns of the neighborhood.

"They're Mission olives," an old-time resident of the city told me, "refugees from one of the many groves in this area that have been ripped up and replaced by suburban developments."

Olive trees, however — which have a very long life — don't stop producing fruit just because they've become mere decorations. Literally tons of olives go to waste in southern California every year! Part of the crop, of course, is consumed by starlings, one of the few birds that will eat the bitter berries. The lush oval fruit also makes super ammunition for the slingshot set (the ripe ones find their target with a satisfying purple splat).

Few people try to harvest the olives, because they have a dreadful taste fresh off the tree and must be processed in one of several complicated ways. So most people just rake them up and throw them away then pick up a can of the "ready-made" fruit at the supermarket.

Because I'm a frustrated farmer who wants to produce something other than crab grass in his mini-yard, I decided to try harvesting the luscious black olives hanging heavy from the dozen or so trees near my apartment.

A little research into the art and science of preserving olives, however, produced one clear message: Forget it! The juicy black ones you buy in a can at the supermarket, I learned, started their processing before they were ripe. And, anyway, I didn't have room in my pad for all the necessary crocks and vats.

lilia
1/5/2011 9:53:28 PM

I live in Chula Vista too, zc 91914, Yes there are many olive trees, however are fruitless. Those olive trees are ornamental. Neither the city or HOA will deal with the work that the olives will represent. stains, having to spray the trees, etc.


lilia
1/5/2011 9:48:24 PM

I live in Chula Vista too, zc 91914, Yes there are many olive trees, however are fruitless. Those olive trees are ornamental. Neither the city or HOA will deal with the work that the olives will represent. stains, having to spray the trees, etc.


audra
12/12/2010 10:47:30 PM

http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Cure-and-Preserve-Your-Own-Olives/762867 I would like to find one now that doesn't require vinegar....but I will do it this way first!


audra
12/12/2010 10:40:10 PM

to Steve Dippo! I feel ya, I did find a site that had that information and am going through history to find it. It was mentioned more as an afterthought but that is what I am seeking too! I will post back when I find it!


steve dippo
12/6/2010 7:37:54 PM

Regarding the preservation of olives, I have good luck with leeching the tannins with lye. You must use plactic buckets or crocks because the lye will ruin metallic containers. After 10-12 hrs in the lye solution, I then leech the lye out over a period of 4-5 days, submerging them in fresh water, changing the water 4 times a day. When you can no longer taste the lye in the olives, they are ready to brine. A brine solution is prepared and the green olives are placed in this solution and can be eaten after a few days. MY PROBLEM is: Nowhere can I find a recipe that instructs on how to can the olives in canning jars for an indefinite time, like pickles, etc. Can anyone help?? Thanx.. Steve Dippo


speckled hen_1
6/30/2010 11:47:36 AM

Here is a variation of this method from the Hunter Olive Association: Black Dried (Greek style) Olives * Choose very ripe olives, handpicked, good quality, unblemished. * Wash the fruit and place in a white pillowcase with salt, 1kg of salt to 10kg of olives, and mix well. * Hang the bag of olives and turn it end to end each day so the salt will continue to mix evenly. Place a container below the bag to collect the salty juice, and discard the juice. * Continue to turn the bag for 15 days and test for a pleasant flavour (not too bitter and a good texture). If the olives are still too bitter, continue the process. You may finally roll them in some extra virgin olive oil to give them a nice shine, or marinate them in your favourite combination of herbs.






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