Have you ever looked at that olive tree in the backyard and wondered how to preserve olives? Preserving olives is a process of soaking the bitterness out of the raw olives and replacing it with the flavor of garlic and herbs. The process takes about 20 days and very little effort but yields delicious olives that are customized to your taste.
To preserve olives, you will need:
- Raw Olives
- Pickling Jar or container with lid
- White Vinegar
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh Rosemary
- Fresh Thyme
- Olive oil
- Prepare the olives to be preserved. Wash the olives in clear water and remove any olive that is bruised or blemished. Make a slice lengthwise in each olive with a sharp knife. Place the olives in a large sterilized container or pickling jar with a tight lid. Fill the container with clean water to completely submerse the olives. Cover with a tight lid and soak for 17 days. Change the water each and everyday.
- Prepare the Brine solution. To make a 10% brine solution, combine 1/4 cup of salt with every 4 cups of water used. For example, the olive container needs eight cups of 10% brine solution to fill the jar. Use eight cups of water and ½ cup salt to create the brine solution. Combine the water and salt in a large pot and heat on a medium heat until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is warm.
- Drain the olives. Drain the water from the olives that have soaked for 17 days. Fill the container with warn brine, screw on the lid, and soak the olives for three days. Stir the olives in the brine solution each day with a clean spoon or stick.
- Mix two parts of water to one part of white vinegar. This means if the container filled with olives holds eight cups of liquid the correct mixture would be 4 2/3 cups of water to 3 1/3 cups of vinegar.
- Drain the brine from the olives. Fill the container with the water and vinegar mixture. Soak the olives for three day. Stir the olives at least once a day.
- Drain the water and vinegar from the olives. Pack the olives tightly in sterilized jars with tight lids. Add coarsely chopped garlic, thyme, and rosemary to the jars and fill with extra virgin olive oil. Tighten the lid and store in a cool dark place or the refrigerator.
Tips/Warnings: Flavor the olives with your favorite herb. For hot olives, add chili peppers to the jar. When preserving any type of food it is essential to sterilize the jars. To sterilize a glass canning jar and lid, wash in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Place the jars and lids in a pot of water and boil for 10 minutes. Leave the jars and lids soaking in the hot water until they will be used.