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Curing olives - should I bin them?


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#1 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:02 PM

I bought some green olives from the market. Following the recipe in the MoVida cookbook, I did the following:

  • Rinsed them.
  • Split them.
  • Soaked them in waterfor about a week.
  • Parked them in a mixture of white vinegar and water for three weeks with some other items (lemon wedges, fennel, garlic) as per the recipe. The book is an Australian book. It said to do this at room temperature. I did.

In short, the recipe looked pretty much the same as a lot of the recipes I saw online. One might use fennel, another might use ... nothing but the core parts of the process were very similar.

 

I'm at the point where the recipe says to remove them from the brine and place them in sterilised jars with salt, olive oil and (optionally) some other ingredients (i.e. chilli, more garlic). And yet I am concerned.

 

DSC_0037_zps72fe4cd3.jpg

 

The surface of the pickling liquid is covered with things. It almost reminds me of hardened lumps of fat. The container was new and had been cleaned before I used it so it's not like it's some nasty residue from a half-arsed cleaning job. Whatever it is has come from the ingredients I put in the container.

 

What you see in the photo is what there is. They don't look like the spores/signs of contamination I've seen before but I don't have any idea what they are. Is this normal? Is it a product of some of the oil from the olives being released into the water? Could it have come from the lemon, garlic or fennel? I simply washed the lemon and sliced it, crushed (but did not peel) the garlic cloves and washed and sliced the fennel.

 

It doesn't smell bad. It doesn't smell any different, in fact, to what I'd imagine it should smell like. That is to say it smells primarily of watered down vinegar. There's no funk of the sort I'd imagine something that had 'gone off' and been sitting at room temperature for a while would have.

 

At this stage I'm holding off doing anything until I get reassurance that the olives are okay.


Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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#2 JohnT

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:50 PM

It looks, from your photograph, like the olive oil has leached out of your olives and coagulated on the surface. This tends to happen with ripe olives but not so much with green ones. When I have preserved olives in the past (not for a number of years now), my recipe had me soaking them in fresh water for the first week but changing the water daily. I have the method somewhere on my laptop or in one of my folders and will PM it to you if I can find it, just to do a bit of comparison to yours. Just as a matter of interest, how cold is it where you are doing the preserving?
Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

#3 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

That's as much as I suspected. I took a risk. I rinsed them, drained them and put them in jars with olive oil to cover. For some reason I made the assumption that because all the other recipes I've tried in this book have been good, the olives would be too. Yeah. Remind me to taste one of the olives before pissing away two litres of extra virgin olive oil next time. I reckon I needed to soak them in plain water longer. And they also didn't taste particularly cured. I put a little more vinegar than what the recipe called (in the quantity of vinegar to quantity of olives sense) and they didn't taste particularly ... cured. Not a particularly cheap failure, considering I started with a $18 crate of olives.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#4 JohnT

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:59 AM

Give it a month in the jars and then pop a few - should be a lot better with age. Hope you did not overdue the vinegar!

PM sent.
Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

#5 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:45 AM

I binned most of them but got to the point where the jars I couldn't easily open just went back into storage. Attack of the cbfeds. I guess I'll leave them a while to see what happens. If they're still a little bitter and shite after a month then I guess it was a total failure.

 

Thanks for the PM. If I see another discount box of olives over the weekend at the market I'll have another run.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between