Home Cured Olives

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by jock, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. jock

    jock

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    A friend who has an olive tree in her back yard gave me a few pounds of olives a few months ago. I decided to cure them in brine following instructions I found in a book of "lost arts". Some of the olives turned out a bit squishy and I'm told this means they are spoiled. I've never done this before and I'm not quite sure what to expect. Does anybody know if I can eat the squishy olives or am I about to poison my family?

    Jock
     
  2. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Dear Jock

    It's very difficult for olives to spoil.
    I don't know what method you used to cure them and I do not know what type of olives you used.
    But if squishy menas what my dictionnary suggets, soft and watery, then it's not a poison.
    Try something to bring them back.

    Place them in a large bowl and "rinse" them with wine vinegar.
    Store them in a jar with olive oil.

    Let me know if this was of some help. It's a pity to throw olives away...
    If you don't like them with vinegar, I can post you some recipe with olives.

    :)
     
  3. jock

    jock

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    According to the instructions in the book I have, I soaked the olives in plain water for about 10 days. Then for a month, I soaked them in a brine solution (1 cup of salt per gallon of water) changing the brine once a week. They are now in a weaker brine solution until they are ready to eat (another month or two yet.) They are still a little bitter.
    Thanks for the advice. I will try it and let you know.
    What kind of olives? I don't know for sure. They are black, quite big and round. Kalmata perhaps?

    Jock
     
  4. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Jock,

    Did you do a curve on each one of them with a knife????
     
  5. olive branch

    olive branch

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    Hi Jock! I cured olives from my own trees last year for the first time and here's what I found out.

    Most backyard olive trees in California are Mission Olives. They are best picked green or mottled and cured then. They will tend to get squishy if picked and cured riper, but they are not spoiled. Just a few of mine in each jar (I put them in jars when I switched to the weaker brine) got squishy and I threw them out because I didn't like the texture. The other olives were fine and we are still alive! We will be picking earlier this year!

    Without a lye cure they will remain slightly bitter. When you eat them, drain and rinse them (I soak mine in fresh water for a couple of hours to reduce the saltiness). Then marinate them in a little oil with: vinegar, garlic, herbs, spices, you name it. Let them marinate overnight if you can. They are lovely with a little orange peel. Any bitterness that remains becomes part of a complex flavor.

    Have fun! Love ~ Debbie
     
  6. jock

    jock

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    That's a huge help Debbie, thanks a lot. I'm really shooting in the dark here and I appreciate your insights. How long did it take before the olives became edible? I started this process around mid December I think. I'm not expecting to eat them until March.
    Athenaeus, what does cutting a curve in the olive do?

    Jock
     
  7. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Cutting olives is very important.

    You remove the bitterness easily and they don't get squishy ,as you say.
     
  8. olive branch

    olive branch

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    Really, it doesn't have to be a curve, but that is so Greek and romantic! You just make an opening for the brine to penetrate. You can do this by cutting a little slit in each one or by crushing them slightly, enough to break the "skin". You invite all your family, friends and neighbors. You warn them that they will go home stained - hands, clothes, the whole catastophe. You promise (and serve) a LOT of wine and some good fall thing like chili or stew or ribs. Many hands make light work!

    Love ~ Debbie
     
  9. olive branch

    olive branch

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    Well, I REALLY know how to spell catastrophe - I just can't type!

    Love ~ Debbie
     
  10. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Debbie, you know well the Greek habits! :)

    Yes this is the story and I suggest you to do this next time you have olives. The sentiment of working in group using a product of Nature cannot be described :)

    We crush only the green olives, that's why we call them tsakistes " Crushed"
    The Kalamata Olives just need a cut with a knife.
    The round , wrinkled ones are crushed also but they crushed between layers of coarse salt.

    If you ask my favorite? Black crushed of course.