How to Preserve Olives in Oil

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Not only are olives delicious, they have so many wonderful uses. You can toss them in a salad, top a pizza, stuff an omelet or just serve them as a tasty relish. And here's the bonus: They're good for you, too. Preparing and preserving your own olives is a bit of a lengthy process, but it's simple, and it can be fun experimenting with various flavors, herbs and spices. Follow these easy steps and you'll be on your way to impressing your family and friends with your culinary prowess.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 or 5 airtight, glass containers
  • 4 cups olive oil
  • Dried herbs of your choice
  • 8 tbsp. salt
  • 2 qts. water
  • Large bowl
  • 4 to 5 lbs. fresh, raw green olives
  • Sharp knife or wooden kitchen mallet
  • Large glass bowl
  • Plastic bags
  • Colander
  • Large tray
  • Paper towels or clean dishcloth

Prepare the Olive Oil

  • Fill two airtight, glass containers one-fourth full with the dried herbs of your choice.

  • Pour pure, extra virgin olive oil on top of the herbs until the containers are almost full.

  • Seal the containers tightly and store them in a dark, cool place for 1 month before using.

Prepare the Olives

  • Dissolve 8 tbsp. salt in 1 qt. of water. Set aside.

  • Cut a deep slit in each olive or crack each one with a wooden kitchen mallet. Place the olives in a large glass bowl.

  • Pour the water and salt solution over the olives until they are completely covered. To keep the olives submerged, weight them down with a plastic bag filled with water. Store the olives in a cool, dark place.

  • Change the water and salt solution once a week for 3 weeks. If a scum has formed on the top of the solution, rinse the olives in clean water, then place them back in the bowl and pour the fresh water and salt solution over them.

  • Taste one of the larger olives. It should be slightly tangy. If they are still too bitter, allow them to soak in the water and salt solution for one more week. If the taste is to your liking, pour the olives into a colander and rinse in tepid water.

  • Pour the olives onto a large tray and pat them dry with a paper towel or clean dishtowel to remove excess water.

  • Fill two or three glass airtight glass containers approximately two-thirds full with the olives. Pour your flavored olive oil over the olives until they are completely submerged, with at least 1/4 inch of olive oil on top. Store the olives in a cool, dark pantry or in the refrigerator for 3 days before eating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your flavored olive oil will be good for up to 1 year. After that, you should discard it. Your olives should keep for up to 2 months.

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