>Salt-curing the olives


When I researched olive-curing in books and on the Internet, there seem to be so many ways of doing it and every recipe is slightly different from the next one. In the end, the method I’m using is a simplified version of several of the ones I came across. It’s the first time I’ve salt-cured olives – last year we cured them in brine rather than dry salt – so this is an experiment. I’ll keep you updated with progress over the next couple of months as we see how it works.


First, I rinsed the olives and left them to drain for 24 hours. Some of them were still a bit damp so I dried them with kitchen paper. Then I layered them with coarse salt in an earthenware casserole dish, a thick layer of salt, followed by a layer of olives, another layer of salt, olives, and a final thick layer of salt.

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I then covered the casserole with its lid and put it on the stairs, which is the place in the house with the most constant, and the coolest, temperature. I shall check it in a couple of days’ time to see if there is any liquid to drain off. According to the recipes I have seen, the curing should take one to two months. It is possible to cure the olives more quickly by pricking them with a fork before salting – this method takes only a week. Maybe I’ll try that another time.


10 thoughts on “>Salt-curing the olives

  1. >I am interested to see how your olive experiment comes out. Would either of your curing methods work with green olives? I have a little tree in a pot with a surprising number of olives on it. I'm thinking of picking them and trying to cure them, but I prefer green olives.

  2. >Michelle: I always thought that for green olives you needed to use caustic soda to get the bitterness out of them. That's why I've never tried doing green olives, although I like them too. But recently one of our neighbours told us that he cures green olives in salt brine and never uses caustic soda. I haven't tried this, though.Heiko: yes, the timing is a bit vague. 40 days is used a lot here, too, as the magic time for anything to be ready! I'll time the olives and see exactly how long they take.

  3. >I've got nothing to lose by trying the cure on the green olives. I'm going to give it a shot. The 40 day thing sounds rather biblical to me. I've got a limoncello recipe that takes two 40-day sessions to make.

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