This Mediterranean preserved olives recipe has been kept in my recipe list from last autumn to be shared with you today.
Living in Sydney and far away from the Vietnamese community, I have to make the preserved vegetable myself to satisfy my craving sometimes but honestly, I had never thought about making preserved olives myself. I had never seen raw olives sold in any where in Sydney except on the olive trees from the farms. Like the majority, we usually buy the preserved olives from the local delicatessens or the imported ones in packages from some groceries stores.
We are living in a suburb which is home of a big Italian community. I think that’s the reason why I was so lucky to find for the very first time raw green olives were sold in the local super market (which was Supa Barn before Coles took over). I brought home a bag of about 2 kgs raw green olives but had no idea about how to cure the olives. So the journey of learning how to cure olives quickly started from there.
People have so many different ways to cure their olives and the more I read the more I got confused especially about the time soaking the olives in water and the number of times to change the water are very different from recipe to recipe. Below is what I combined from different recipes and guidance and I experimented it in a way that worked for me. And it worked so well. Now that we are in the picking olives season, I am so excited to share this with you all. If you are lucky enough like me to see raw olives somewhere, just do not hesitate to buy some and have fun with it. I did enjoy making this Mediterranean preserved olives very much. It was such a lovely little project. It takes time but it’s worth it.
- Fresh black or green olives
- Sterilised glass jars with lids
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the olives well and discard all the blemished ones. Use a small sharp night to make a deep length-way cut around the olives, all the way to the stones.
- Prepare for soaking the olives. Sterilise the glass jar with lid (I use the glass jar with a rubber ring and a clip on top, which I got from Ikea) by soaking it in a big boiling pot of water for couple of minutes and then dry it well with a very clean kitchen towel. Add the prepared olives in the jar until it is more than two-thirds full then cover the olives with tap water. Now you need to make sure the olives are under the water by partially filling a small plastic bag (I used a small food freezer bag), tie the bag and sit it on top of the olives to keep the olives underwater. Seal the jar tightly with the lid.
- Now is the important part and fun part, too. Change the water every day by pouring out the old water and refilling with tap water. Do this for 14 days (to make sure you get rid of the bitterness from the fresh olives). or until you taste the olives and do not feel the bitterness on your tongue.
- After 14 days of soaking the olives, pour out all the olives into a basket, rinse under tap water and drain well. Fill the same jar with a brine solution. To make brine solution, you need to mix 1/3 cup of salt mixed with every 1 little of water you need. Heat up the salty water in a saucepan and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Set it aside to cool down for couple of hours then pour the brine solution over the olives until it fully covers the olives.
- Pour some olive oil over the top of the brine solution, to make sure the olives are fully covered. Return the lid and keep it for 5 weeks. The olives are ready to eat. You can keep them in the brine for up to few months. I actually drained the olives and then store them in a jar and cover them with extra virgin olive oil for a richer flavour.