Olives, olives and more olives!


This is part I of an ongoing series about home curing fresh olives. Last month I told you all about a cool olive company called Penna- Great Olives and directed you to take a look at their products. I was also chosen to do my own home curing with a box of olives they sent to me. I received that box yesterday and began the process of home curing.

Look at this box of bright green fresh olives!

I had never seen a fresh olive until the day this box came. Now for an idea of how large these olives are, take a look at this next photo.

Some were even larger than the olive in the photo. I think the box weighed about 2.5 pounds and I really don’t know what the cost would be if you were to buy them yourself but I am certain you could contact Great Olives for information on pricing.

The first step in curing olives at home is deciding on the method you will want to use. There are several that can be used and I chose the one that seemed easiest to me, since this is my first time trying this. Penna gives three methods at their blog. The one I decided to use is for Mediterranean Partida Style olives using fresh green olives.

The second step is to wash the olives in clean cool water.

Sort through the olives to be sure there aren’t any with spots from little bugs that enjoy making a home inside the olive.

The next step is to break open the flesh of the olive so the very bitter flavor in the raw olive, something called oleuropein can leach out. This substance is water-soluble and as you daily change the water, slowly the bitterness will come out by osmosis. Who knew this would be a very scientific process? Most cooking and baking is scientific because there are chemical changes going on in every recipe. More about that in another post. Onto the olive curing process. I began the next step by having the plastic container I would use for the water curing next to the board I was preparing the olives on.  I sliced into each olive instead of using a mallet as the instructions suggested. I decided to consult a few other blogs for olive curing and decided that bruising the olives with a mallet would not be smart, so I sliced them.

Next I placed all the sliced olives into the bowl, making sure all of them were submerged in water. They will begin to oxidize and discolor if they are not in the water. I put a plate in the container to keep them down. I happened to have a bowl with a lid that fit the olives and water perfectly so there isn’t much room for them to float up.

Each day for the next month or so I will be changing the water daily to remove the bitter oleuropein. Afterwards I will begin the brining process. Stay tuned.

Again I need to thank my son Jake for taking all of these photos except for the last one. Can you see a difference? He knows how to use our camera much better than I can.

Be sure to visit Penna- Great Olives on Facebook and at their site for more information about home curing.

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