What to Do With Fresh Olives? - Eva Varga

November 10, 20123
There are several olive trees in our neighborhood and they have recently caught our attention as they are full of fruit.  I’d read that olives could be harvested in autumn, between September and November.  We thereby opted to give it some time to allow the fruit to ripen. 
This past week, we realized that the time to pick them was upon us and we ventured out one afternoon. It took us no time at all to fill our large strainer with large, ripe olives.  There were many more on the trees but we didn’t bring down a ladder and only the one bowl.  Also, since we’d never cured olives before, I figured we had enough to give it a go.

As we were walking back home, a neighbor stopped and remarked upon our cache.  He stated that his brother frequently cured olives and that tasted great.  Sadly though, he didn’t have any other information to share.  I wish I had thought to get his telephone number.

We returned home and I looked online for recipes.  To my surprise, most all of the recipes I encountered suggested picking them when they are green.  Hmmm.  So what do I do with those we’ve already picked? Fortunately I found this one, Greek-Style Ripe Olives.  I thereby have the olives curing in a salt-water brine.

I was a little surprised, too, that many recipes require soaking the olives in Lye.  As a Norwegian-American, I am not opposed to eating lye-cured food.  I actually enjoy eating Lutefisk.  However, I am not sure I want to actually prepare anything myself with Lye.  I may leave that to others with more experience – or at least wait until they can show me – I am a hands-on learner after all.

The curing takes about three weeks, so I’ll have to save the results of our home curing experiment for another post.  If any of you have any experience with curing or canning olives, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

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