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Curing olives


monkeymay
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I've got five pounds of green olives that are into their third week of brine curing and are just begining to lose the bitterness. I'm waiting for the black ones my guy at the farmers market has promised me will be coming soon.

Anyone else doing this?

We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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I've got two olive trees in pots and last year I cured my own home grown olives...It's such a nice feeling for a city person like me to be able to grow and cure my own food.

I think my olives are verdales, they are small like nicoise and very tasty.

I also bought some large green olives last year and tried a shorter cure using lye, but they didn't taste good so this year I think I'll stick with the longer brine cure.

How do you marinate yours?

Any tips for a begginer?

How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

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I try to do it every year, in a brine

people tell me my olives are not coming out right since they turn from green to black..

I tasted them and they where not to bad.. is this right

will the olives turn to black in a brine??

I bake there for I am....

Make food ... not war

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  • 11 months later...

yesterday at the produce market, they had a nice big bag of green olives for $1. so i bought it, figuring hell, i could cure them somehow, and maybe even make good ones like i remember from spain.

but then i started looking at the recipes, i'm wondering if i'm up for it, or if i should just toss them.

for instance here:

http://www.catechnologies.com/LaConda/recipes.html

i see a spanish-style recipe, but since i have no experience with doing this, i have no idea which part of the process makes which component of the flavor. i've read other recipes that just use a brine to pull out the bitterness, others that just use salt, and others that go as far as to just use water.

has anyone else done this? i'm also worried that when i read a recipe that says 'spanish style' olives that's just going to mean the regular crappy ones you get in the supermarket as 'spanish style.' so i don't even know which recipe to trust.

(also i should mention that i don't know what variety they are. they're about an inch long and bright green)

so anyway, i thought it might be fun to do, but now i'm wondering if i should bother. and so i turn to you, egullet, for advice. what should i do?

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I tried this once and despite being ever so careful, my olives got moldy. I was really upset! After 3 weeks in brine, the olives were edible and even tasty, but my "recipe" called for a minimum of 4 weeks. Sometime between the 3rd and 4th week, my olives got a coating of black scum floating on top of the brine, so I threw them out. I will try again if I ever get my hands on fresh olives again. At the time, I was living in Turkey and got them from my obliging neighbor's tree.

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Sometime between the 3rd and 4th week, my olives got a coating of black scum floating on top of the brine, so I threw them out. 

Are you sure that the black scum wasn't something that you could ignore? Afterall, you dump the brine anyway and rinse the olives. I wouldn't think it would have been mold since I don't think it can exist in a brine solution.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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We used to make olives when I was a kid. You can just use brine. And you can rinse off the scum. If you like, I can email my dad for the actual process since my job was (ugh, tedious & smelly) smashing the olives so the pit would be exposed. But we did it at home, and didn't use any lye as far as I know. Spanish olives are done a little differently from middle eastern ones, so that would account for the difference in taste. (Personally, I've never been crazy about the Spanish style, but then again I have a strong cultural bias when it comes to olives...)

Oh, if you decide to use brine, its really nice to stick a few wild fennel stalks and lemon slices in there. Yummy.

Edited to add: That second recipe you posted is almost identical to what we used to do, with fennel instead of the cumin, and wild oregano instead of dried (mainly because both grew wild by the side of the road and well, you gotta do something with them.)

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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thanks, behemoth. i think i'll give that one a try.

ladybug, that's kinda what i'm worried about--i'm not sure what to expect. but i figure, i have this bag of olives, and it's not like it's that much effort after all, to put them in brine and change it every week. if it fails, then i'm ok with that.

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No, I'm not sure at all about that black scum. Maybe it was harmless - but it hadn't been there the week before and I am kind of weak-kneed about anything moldy. It was the first (and so far, only) time that I've tried to cure olives. But I would try it again in a New York minute! I love olives.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm due to recieve 10 pounds of fresh olives any day now in the mail. I've been curing my own now for about 4 years, but am curious if anyone else does this and what your technique is?

My general technique is to slit each olive, and then soak in fresh water until they taste about right (if you can bite it without making a face its done). You should change the water daily and remove any scum that accumulates. Once they are tasty, put the olives in a brine solution with a little added vinegar if you wish.

Hal

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My general technique is to slit each olive, and then soak in fresh water until they taste about right (if you can bite it without making a face its done).  You should change the water daily and remove any scum that accumulates.  Once they are tasty, put the olives in a brine solution with a little added vinegar if you wish. 

I have cured my own olives a few times. I do not slit them. I simply wash them and clean them of stems, and pack them in sterilized jars with a hot brine that is only salt and water, no vinegar.

It seemed like it took 2 or 3 months for them to be ready the first times, but last time, it took over 6 months. I open a jar, and rinse, taste. If it does not taste like an olive, rebrine, and back to the cellar. They change from very hard to medium-soft.

This is the technique that I was taught by older Italians. I bought "Feast of the Olive" to learn other techniques, but have found none better. This is off the top of my head; I hope I am accurate.

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Too late for me, I needed to get them going and so 1/2 I put a slit in and 1/2 I just poked with the tip of a paring knife. We'll see which ends up being better.

I tried to crack them with a wooden paddle but they just ended up mushing, so I think they're not quite as fresh as the should be.

I've taken some pictures of the process, I'll try to get them up this weekend.

Hal

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I tried to crack them with a wooden paddle but they just ended up mushing, so I think they're not quite as fresh as the should be.

The ones I get are too firm to crack raw and would just smash as you describe.

When the olives are cured I rinse them well and smack them with a hammer to split them; they split nicely at that stage. Then, I season with olive oil and garlic and oregano a few hours before serving.

I usually begin rinsing them the day before, and change the water several times. Good luck with yours; they are fun and satisfying to tackle.

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The centuries (millenia?) old technique in Albania is to slit them twice on the side (longways) and brine them until the water is clear and they're not bitter, changing the water each day.

There's a town in central Albania called Berat that's famous for their giant olives. I used to get them as gifts from the local villlagers. They were the most amazing olives.

Soup is good food.

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Ok here's the photos of the process.

First is to open the box, I ordered 10 pounds of mixed size Green Manzinilla olives from Penna Olives for $14 plus shipping. The box is just a little under 12" square. Some years they seem less bruised than others, and this year I think I ordered them a little late, hence the small brown bruises.

gallery_7765_207_1097446076.jpg

As I mention above, I slit or pierce each olive with a paring knife and then soak them in water until they are no longer unpalatably bitter, usually about 2 weeks. I change the water every day.

gallery_7765_207_1097446166.jpg

A lid helps to keep the olives submerged, which cuts down on oxidation, the chance for mold, and brown mushy fruits (at least that's been my experience).

gallery_7765_207_1097446241.jpg

I'll post more photos as I get further along in the process.

Hal

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  • 1 year later...

This may be a bit premature, but we just planted an empeltre olive tree in our front yard. Our gardener friend says the climate here in the Portland, OR area will be OK for this variety, and what I've read on the internet seems to support that.

Under the assumption that I will get olives one day, does anyone have suggestions on the best (and or easiest) way to cure this type of olive (a spanish olive that is described some places as sweet and nutty)? Also, what equipment or containers do I need to have on hand?

Of course, there's probably no hurry right now. The tree is about four feet tall. I'm not sure when they start producing fruit. But it is fun to think about trying something new.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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  • 1 month later...

I too am looking or a little help with some olive curing questions. If anyone out there has experience with this, I would love to talk to you. I grew up with a best friend who was greek. Her grandmother cured olives at home and now I want to do so also. We used to just go out and pick olives from the trees in the neighborhood and the only rule was not to get the ones already on the ground. The first time I went out and picked olives I did the initial soaking and found small white worms in the bottom of the bucket. Second time I was very careful and looked at each individual olive or holes and thought I had done a very good job, but found worms again. I dont have my own olive tree, just been picking them at the park down the street which has tons of olive trees. Anyone have suggestions?

I have the greek recipe from when I was a child, and have found several pretty good resources on the internet for the actual curing, which I can try out once I get past my worm problem.

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Well, found out a little about this on my own. Guess the trees I have been picking from have olive flies. I have never seen fresh olives sold in the store, but luckily I have tons of olive trees all around so I am going to try a new spot and give this another shot.

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Oh great, now I have to worry about olive flies too. This after I recently found out that the reason my lime tree has ants crawling all over it is because they are herding aphids or scale up the tree and forcing them to produce honeydew, which they then eat. I now spray my lime tree, so I suppose I'll have to learn how to deal with the olive tree too.

Snowangel, thanks for merging my thread with this one. For some reason, I couldn't find this one when I posted originally. There's lots of good info here. Thanks everyone.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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  • 2 months later...

I set a reminder in my calendar to try to purchase raw, uncured olives around this time, but the Penna website seems to be down. Anyone know what's going on with them or know of any alternate sources?

Thanks,

Julie - who sincerely regrets not taking advantage of all those olive trees when she lived in Southern California instead of Upstate NY!! :angry:

Julie Layne

"...a good little eater."

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