Wild Olives

Wild olives, anybody ?

Wild Olives

One of the Gangof480 mailed this picture with the message : In my yard. Aren’t they pretty? I am going to have a crack at pickling them. Must be a recipe on google.

How lucky is she to step into her yard to pick this bounty as and when ? Or even to sit in the patio, sipping a coffee, with this view ?

There are plenty of recipes for pickling olives, one of the gang found this recipe on Green Prophet.

Olives are eaten with almost every meal in the Middle East, sometimes even at breakfast. Organically grown olives are the most delicious. Dried and salty or plump and succulent, glowing in gem-like green, black, brown, and purple, olives … some people like their olives hot with fiery chilis. Some prefer them tangy with preserved lemons, or mellowed with bay leaves. You can pickle and season fresh olives by the kilo if you want, and it’s not hard. You will need a knife or a hard rock, and a mason jar or any other large jar with a tight-fitting lid.

It’s in autumn that olives are harvested and appear in the markets. The olives marinate in plain salt brine, changed daily, for a week. During that time their original bitterness will leach out into the water. In the following 4-8 weeks, they marinate in fresh brine and seasonings.

  • 1 kilo fresh olives
  • water
  • salt

After a week, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • chili peppers to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional: oregano, thyme, rosemary, grains of black pepper, allspice

Rinse the olives, drain. Discard spoiled ones.

Either cut three slits in each olive or crush them with a clean rock, a few at a time. If crushing, only press hard enough to crack them open, not mash them.

Put the olives in the jar.  Cover them with water. Make sure there are none floating – weigh them down with a small saucer or drape a clean recycled plastic bag over the surface of the water to keep them under.

Change the water every 24 hours. Do this for a week.

The olives will lose their bright color as their bitterness leaches out. When the olives are uniformly darker, taste them to judge if they’re ready for brining. If they’re still bitter, soak them and change the water for another few days.

Once the olives are ready, drain them and put them in a large bowl while washing out their jar.

Make a brine. This is:

10 grams of salt for every 100 ml. of water or  7 tablespoons of salt per half-cup of water.

Mix well. Replace the olives in the clean jar. Pour the brine over all. Add herbs and spices to taste. Cover the olives with plenty of olive oil to exclude air and prevent spoilage. Close the jar. Leave it alone for a month, then taste an olive every week or so till you’re satisfied.

Always remove olives for serving with a clean, dry spoon. Keep the majority in their brine and seasonings – they will only improve.

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