In October I harvested Mission olives from a tree. The ripe black olives I packed into coarse salt (dry-cure). The green unripe olives I placed in a salt-brine. It’s now November and the black olives have cured (the salt has leached out the oleuropin compound that makes them bitter). The black olives are now shrunken and wrinkled. They will keep in salt for up to one year.
The next step is to create a marinade for the olives. The one key ingredient is olive oil. The oil coats the surface of the olive, preserving it, by preventing any fermentation or decay.
The classic combinations are the oil, an acid (either vinegar or citrus), and spices and herbs.
Olive oil (enough to coat and cover the olives in a jar: 1 cup)
Vinegar (1/4 cup: any kind: red, white, apple cide, rice)
Citrus (1 lemon or orange)
Zest of citrus
1 spring fresh rosemary (stemmed and coarsely chopped)
Garlic cloves (a few, thinly sliced)
Cracked black pepper
Thyme (1 teaspoon)
Alternates (toasted spices ala Indian):
Cumin seeds (1 teaspoon)
Fennel seeds (t teaspoon)
Cardamon seeds (1/2 teaspoon)
Dip them into boiling water for up to 15 seconds to remove excess salt and to plump them up a little.
The next step is to create a marinade for the olives. The one key ingredient is olive oil. The oil coats the surface of the olive, preserving it, by delaying any fermentation or decay. You can mix the marinade using either the cold method or the warm method.
The cold method is mix the olive oil, spices, herbs, and citrus together in a bowl.
The warm method is to warm the oil; add the spices and herbs; let cool; then add the citrus juice. The warm method is best if you are using toasted spices.
Warning 1: Do NOT add citrus juice to hot oil! It can vaporize the oil and lead to a flash flire.
Warm the olive oil in a pan. Add the spices and herbs. Let cool. Add the citrus juice.
Let the olives marinate for at least several days: The flavor and texture of the marinated olives improve over time. The oiled olives can either go directly in the refrigerator for up to six months or stored in a cool and dark place (the pantry) for up to a month.
Frequently asked question: Can I reuse the salt?
Answer: No, not for eating…all the bitter compound went into the salt.