Fresh olives are too bitter to eat, but curing them makes for a delicious appetizer and makes the fruit last longer. You can preserve olives at home using either a brine or a dry salt method.
Preparing Olives for Preserving
Pick ripe olives and wash them thoroughly. You can choose nearly any colour or variety of olive, or even mix different types together. It is best to pick olives directly from the tree if possible.
The Brine Method of Preserving Olives
Slit each olive and soak the olives in water. Rinse the olives and change the water every day for two to six weeks. Replace the water with brine, using 1/4 cup salt for every quart of water, and soak them for two days to three weeks. Change the brine every few days and stir the mixture daily. Finally, drain the olives and place them in olive oil, or in a mixture of brine and 4 tbsp red wine vinegar with a layer of olive oil on top.
The Salt Method of Preserving Olives
Line two wooden boxes with cotton cloth or burlap. Layer olives in the box with salt, using half a pound of salt for every pound of olives. Make sure the olives are completely covered, and leave to sit for a week. Dump the olives from one box into the other every three days for four to six weeks. When the olives are shrivelled, place them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then allow them to dry overnight.
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