I have always loved olives, from when I was a little girl sucking big black ones off my fingertips to the huge array at delis. The best, though, are the ones that you cure yourself. It's the olive season now (October -November) the trees are laden with olives that are green and some that are black- when the tree mix is a little more green than black, it is time to pick...for oil and for curing. I've tried different methods of curing (like whacking each olive and soaking in water for 10 days) but since my olive guru told me about this method, it is the only way I cure my olives. Be prepared: the olive/brine will ferment and go through an "ugly" phase. Do not be daunted! Even when the top layer looks scary the olives will be OK if the brine is correct. —dymnyno
What You'll Need
1 1/2 pounds
olives...I prefer green ones, the black are too mushy
lemon, cut into quarters
cloves garlic (optional) If you use garlic, poach it first to thoroughly cook before adding
fennel bulb, sliced (optional)
Make a brine. Into a quart of water add enough salt so that a egg will float (start with 1/2 cup and keep adding until the egg floats)
Wash the olives and pick out any that are not perfect.
Put half the olives in the jar.
Put in the lemon slices (you can add garlic and/or fennel slices if you want, too) . Add the rest of the olives.
Pour the brine to the top of the jar, just covering the olives.
Top with a thin layer of olive oil.
Close the jar, but do not seal. I use a baggie and put the closure over that
Put the jar in the refrigerator or a very cool room for at least 6 months.
When you open the jar the olive oil will be solid and messy. Take as many olives as you need and rinse them and then sprinkle with olive oil, herbs or eat plain.
Keep refrigerated and put another thin layer of olive oil on the top.