Curing Olives at Home and Then What

by Pamela

curing olives, home cured olives, marintated olives, relationship advice
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Pickling, preserving, jamming, juicing, charcuteri-ing, homesteading whatever you want to call it – people are doing more and more of this kind of stuff. Some of it is due to the economy, some of it is due to peer pressure (yes, really), some of it is due to health concerns over what’s in the food that we eat and some of it is just out of plain curiosity with the process and end results. I found myself confronted with this last “issue” when the thought of curing olives at home sucked me in with a vengeance like no other thing has haunted me before.

My first foray into curing olives was last year, about this time. For whatever reason, I became obsessed with finding raw olives and curing them. I honestly have no idea why this idea came over me because I don’t even like olives. Craig LOVES olives, especially in an extra dirty martini, but even he wasn’t the one requesting I make these.

Fast forward through the curing process, which takes a few days, and I reluctantly take my first bite. This reluctance is a two part thing. First, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like these olives any better than any other olives I’ve attempted to eat and second, I’m not convinced that consuming home cured olives, in lye, isn’t going to kill me. I LOVED them and obviously it didn’t.

Curing olives can be done one of two ways – either with salt and water (which takes about a month) or the old fashioned way using lye (which takes 7 days). It was pretty much a no brainer for me. I wasn’t going to spend 30 days making and changing a brine bath for my olives (I don’t even necessarily take a bath/shower every day – I sure wasn’t going to spend that time on a bunch of stupid olives). Lye it was to be and a fantastic recipe from the local farmer from whom I bought the fresh olives from. By the way, don’t bite into a fresh/uncured olive…the taste is beyond horrid. Consider yourself warned.

Easy Appetizers - Marinated Home Cured Olives

After making my first batch of olives, and falling in love with them, I bought even more of the little green orbs and made another batch. Craig was disappointed that they weren’t pimento stuffed (really?) but was definitely enjoying the extra olive brine in his dirty martini’s. I was happily munching away but soon realized that I needed more from my olives.

Enter easy appetizers. Okay, not so much appetizers as little treats to serve alongside glasses of wine or cocktails. Home cured olives make the best marinated olives ever. Besides setting out a dish of these little yummy niblets, you’ll begin to feel like your dining in a foreign land where small bowls of freshly marinated olives are set out on the table like bread baskets are here in the states (the olives taste much better than the stateside bread).

I’m including recipes for both curing olives at home and making marinated olives. If you don’t cure your own olives (since the fruits are in season now, you really should give it a try) you can at least turn that jar of store bought olives into something quite tasty for your next gathering.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Joe’s Home Cured Olives
 
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Curing olives at home is a lot easier than you think, they also taste worlds better than store bought olives. Use them in cocktails or for easy appetizers.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • Mature, Green Olives
  • Lye (Food Grade Lye can be found in many grocery stores in the cleaning agent aisle/plumbing area at smaller hardware stores. You want the lye that’s 100% and not mixed with other chemicals…CHECK THE LABEL – do NOT use lower grades of lye)
  • Fresh, Clean Water at 65-70 degrees Farenheit.

Instructions
  1. Mix 4 tablespoons of lye for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  2. Pour over olives and let soak for 24 hours. (Do not use a metal container for this as lye reacts negatively to metal)
  3. Drain olives.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons of lye for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  5. Pour over olives and let soak for 48 hours.
  6. Drain olives and thoroughly rinse olives with clean, fresh water.
  7. Mix 2 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  8. Pour over olives and let soak for 24 hours.
  9. Drain olives.
  10. Mix 3 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  11. Pour over olives and let soak for 24 hours.
  12. Drain olives.
  13. Mix 4 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  14. Pour over olives and let soak for 24 hours.
  15. Drain olives.
  16. Mix 5 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of water (you need enough water to completely cover the olives that you are curing).
  17. Pour over olives and let soak for 24 hours.
  18. Olives are ready for eating.
  19. You can pour the olives and brine into a large covered glass container and store in your refrigerator.

Notes
I found 100% lye in the plumbing department at Ace Hardware. I was not able to find it at any of the big box stores. You should also wear protective gloves and glasses when working with lye.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Marinated Olives
 
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Curing olives at home is a lot easier than you think, they also taste worlds better than store bought olives. Use them in cocktails or for easy appetizers.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients
  • Cured Olives (either home cured or jarred whole olives)
  • ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (depends on how many olives you’re using)
  • Lemon Zest (carefully remove outer zest with peeler then slice into thin strips)
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
  • Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Instructions
  1. Add all ingredient to small saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Once everything is warm, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Pour into serving bowl and either serve warm or at room temperature. Remove garlic cloves if you wish.
  4. Make sure that you also set out a small dish for your guests to place their olive pits.
  5. Also, you can serve slices of French or Country bread to soak up all the delicious olive oil.

Notes
This recipe is really loose, meaning you can adjust quantities or flavors as you wish.

 

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9 comments

Lacey October 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Wow! I never thought of curing my own olives..and I could truly live on olives, charcuterie, good cheese and bread. Wonder if I could order some raw olives online to cure myself!?

Pamela October 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Lacey, it really is quite easy…and the results are delicious. You should give it a try.

Sarah October 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

The hubs has commandeered the wine fridge for a stint in charcuterie, so this totally seems like the next logical step in the progression. Also smitten with the idea of no more questionably smushy grocery-store-olive-bar olives.

Pamela October 25, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Sarah, these will fit snugly beside his charcuterie and make it taste even better. :) I say, make him move over you for you.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

We had a dozen olive trees at our old place and we did the curing and then went away on holidays and our staff ate the lot! We had to wait a whole year to get some for ourselves. :)

It’s been a while but I’m sure we didn’t use lye.

Pamela October 24, 2013 at 6:35 am

Hi Maureen,

So didn’t get to try any from the batch? How frustrating.

Ruthy @ Omeletta October 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I love this! I’ve thought about curing olives, too, but have no idea where to find raw ones. Which, also, I’ve never eaten before, so thanks for the heads up that a raw olive is not so great :) These would make great Christmas gifts.

Judy at Two Broads Abroad October 22, 2013 at 10:26 am

Finally, another olive obsessed person. At least you have some control. I’ve bought 9 olive trees, and have been prowling the markets for three years for raw olives. I used salt brine and let me tell you it take a LONG time. More like years than months. I am going to use your lye method since you survived to write the recipe. Thanks for the great post AND making me feel I’m not the only one with olives on their mind.

Pamela October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Judy, you are def not alone!

I get mine from the market in PV. I know that’s a drive for you, but maybe you guys could make it a spa day too. I’d come meet up w you for a glass of bubbly. :-)

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