(For those interested in some cooking classes in the Portland area, a dear friend, Molly, is doing a few classes come up soon, starting on the 15th. She will be doing classes on bread making and broth and soups. Check it out here, if interested).
Elena and I were sitting on the grass outside our house when the mail came last week. We were thrilled to see a heavy box among the packages. We brought it inside eagerly, and opened it to find beautiful uncured olives.
I have always loved olives, and hated how expensive they were. I also knew that many olives have preservatives or were cured in unhealthy ways. But I had never thought of curing my own! One of my sponsors has organic olives to sell (only a dollar a pound!) right now and asked if I wanted some free olives to cure myself and blog about. I answered with an emphatic yes, despite the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. Curing my own gives me the advantage of knowing exactly how the olives are cured, and keeping them “raw” as well-enzymes in tact. Even if I was buying them, I would come out way ahead financially too!
With those lovely olives in front of us, it was time to get to work.
I washed them, and then cut a slit on every single one of them. Once I knew what I was doing, I fell into a rhythm. I thought about all of the hundreds of women in history who had done this simple task before and wondered how much faster they would have been at it than me!
It took me about an hour and a half to wash and cut all 25 pounds of olives.In the time it would take to watch a movie, I had a huge amount of olives ready to be cured. A good return for the time I took, I think.
I decided to brine cure them following the directions here. (It doesn’t mention green olives in the directions, but I was assured that it would work just fine for green). As I’ve never done this before, I am crossing my fingers that they turn out well. I have many weeks to wait before I find out how they taste, but I am thrilled at this chance to make my own olives without preservatives and other unsavory additions. I am hoping to get some black olives to cure as well.
I also consider this a very frugal choice, because at a dollar a pound plus shipping it comes to only 35 dollars for 25 pounds of olives. Quite the deal. I am definitely going to consider doing this every year. Olives are a great source of nutrition. To purchase your own, you can visit my resource page.
Any other olive curers out there? I would love to have you share your experience!
*All links to sponsors generate a small income for this blog, so by supporting my sponsors you also support this blog! *
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This looks wonderful! I’ll have to try it one day!
By the way, I have been thinking recently about trying to save money by eating more seasonally…except that it is hard to hunt down and figure out what is in season and then find the right recipies to go with it! Would it be possible to have a symbol (or the whole word) next to the title of a recipie so we know what season(s) it is best to make it in?
Something like: Butternut Pasta Sauce (F,W)
Meaning F-fall, W-winter.
I’m not sure if it will work as you would have to come up with something different for spring and summer…and it could be a lot of work for you.
Just a thought!
Thanks for all your wonderful help on your site! I love it!
Seasonal really depends on where you live. Most seasonal cookbooks seem to originate on the west coast where winters are much milder that ours.
Here in New England, it is easy to find summer and autumn recipes. Spring is a little tougher, but winter is downright hard. I like the Winter Vegetarian by Darra Goldstein.
I, too, would appreciate other suggestions.
~Moira in MA
You are truly a pioneer. I can always count on your blog to cover something I’ve never thought of before, and haven’t read about on any other blog!
I just did the same thing on Sunday night, and I’m just as anxious to see how they turn out. We’re doing a salt brine on about a gallon of olives – we’re blessed to have family with trees, and for YEARS they’ve just let them fall and waste… since this is my last “fall” without another set of “helping hands” around( 😉 ), I thought I should see exactly how easy/difficult it is…
Hurrah for trying new things! Hopefully they all turn out wonderful… and if not, hopefully they just taste “good enough”!! 🙂
Ranee @ Arabian Knits
I went to your sponsor list, but couldn’t find the url for the folks with the olives. Could you make a direct link to it? Thank you.
Looks like they are out of stock of the olives. (?)
I’m really interested to know where you get your black olives.
Looking forward to hearing how this turns out.
This looks amazing!
Would LOVE to do this too… but like a previous comment said, it looks like they are all out… 🙁 Is there a different variety that they sell that they may have in stock?
Thanks for the idea!
Thanks, everyone, for letting me know that the link wasn’t working. I’ve replaced it with a direct link. It looks like they are out of stock right now, but check back, because they will probably get some more in soon!
They are out of stock. Darn. I’ll keeping checking to see when they are available again.
I’m really excited about trying my hand at doing this too. It never ocurred to me that I could actually cure my own olives. I guess I just assumed that olives come from some far away place and there was some secret recipe to making olives taste yummy. Good to know they grow in California…:)
what a fantastic idea! we eat so many olives that this would be worth it!
I always use to think that black olives had been picked ripe and green ones unripe. Then I read that black olives are green olives that have been cured in a different way. You can also cure ripe olives, they are purple when raw. I live on the german border, and buy Kalomon olives at the Alnatura shop, they have been picked ripe and taste great.
Ah, I see the difference stages of ripeness are nicely shown in the instructions linked at the site of your sponsor.
I would love to do this, hm. Perhaps I’ll order some up.
How long should brined olives last once jared? Do they have to be kept in the refrigerator?
I’ve been water-curing a batch and I’m so impatient to see them ready, but I know the wait will be well worth it. I tested them yesterday (they’ve been curing about 10 days in water) to see if they were ready to brine and they were still painfully bitter. I’m excited to see them through and enjoy them when they’re ready.
That is really neat! I was just looking for olives that my daughter could have, and couldn’t find any (GFCF). I’ll have to give this a try.
My husband is from olive country (the same area as Chaffin Family Orchards) and he grew up eating cured olives. His grandpa had a small olive business and the rumor is they used to send olives to the Queen of England. They still have olive trees on the family land but only cure for home use now. My husband loves the olives and would like for me to try to cure them. Someday…
Hi Kimi–here is my post about my olive curing experiment! Just tasted one of the olives yesterday, and all the bitterness was gone!
Hey there Kimi, I’m wondering how your olives turned out as it is that season again and I was considering trying this this year. I’m really curious if you have a minute to respond!
Oh confession time! My salt cured olives I left too long and they got super salty and a little dried out. Oops! Then the other ones I forget to keep changing the salt water and then I just left it, mostly forgotten, in a bucket for months and months. When I finally got around to throwing them away I realized that they weren’t very rotten or anything like that (though it had developed a lot of mold at the top). If I had just taken care of them a little bit sooner, I think they would have been just fine. So, both didn’t work out very well solely because of my lack of care. I really wanted to do some more this year, but being almost 36 week pregnant, it’s probably not realistic. 🙂 With a little more care, I think they would have turned out great.
Thanks so much for letting me know! After I posted to ask you, I more thoroughly read about the process and I think I’m going to pass this year. I just moved so I’m not quite ready for a new project with maintenance and all. Maybe next year! 🙂
I’ve done two batches of green barouni olives and just ordered some ripe ones for the first time. Do you know if I should follow the same method as for the unripe ones? Or do ripe ones call for a different method?