Sunday, November 16, 2008

Finding a Cure: Let the Olive Harvest Begin!

Check out my latest endeavor: curing olives! Courtesy of four very ripe olive trees on the property of the winery tasting room where my husband, Randall, works, we harvested a new hobby. We were out plucking the olives from the trees with Italian music on the stereo and a glass of champagne in our hands - an impromptu tango interrupting the picking. Such a fun morning!

But actually getting the bitter raw olives cured into something palatable is a whole other story. I've never done it before - so I'm hoping the experiment bears fruit, so to speak! I scoured the internet for curing recipes - and they are all over the map; none very specific. Oil cured? Salt cured? Lye cured? (I don't think so!) So, I cobbled together a brine - the quantities of the ingredients purely an educated guess at this point. But I'm recording it here for future reference, successful or not!

Cured Olives

  • 1 10-gallon bucket of ripe olives
  • 1 pound sea salt
  • 2 ounces citric acid
  • 12 lemons, halved
  • 5 heads of garlic
  • 24 dried Bay leaves
After individually scoring each and every single olive by hand (there goes my day!) - I then soaked and rinsed them in clear, cold water, filling and draining the bucket probably 5 times until the water ran clear of debris. I then filled the bucket one last time, submerging the olives by about 1 inch. To the water, I then added all of the other ingredients, and mixed well. I placed a large dinner plate weighted with a rock over the water to keep the olives submerged. And now I wait. I guess I change the brine solution every few days, or as bubbles and scum start to form around the edges of the plate. I'll test them after a week or two to see if the bitterness has been leeched, and hopefully I'll have something edible by Christmas! Stay tuned...


  1. Fabulous photos! The picking process sounded like it was a ball. The brine looks great, so the olives have a good start. Hopefully it will result in a tasty end product.

  2. What fun! Can't wait to hear and see how the first batch turns out!