How to Prepare Black Olives

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Black olives can be prepared at home.
Black olives can be prepared at home. (Image: olives noires image by Richard villalon from Fotolia.com)

Even though they are more ripe than their green counterparts, freshly picked black olives are much too bitter to eat and too hard to chew. You must cure them in order to eat them. There is a simple method for preparing black olives at home. Even though the method is time consuming, the final result will be homemade olives made with all natural ingredients and in accordance with your own preferences. These olives will last up to one year.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh black olives
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano, thyme, rosemary, dried pepper flakes, garlic cloves (these are optional)
  • Clean water
  • Sharp knife
  • Bucket or large bowl
  • Colander
  • Sterilized glass preserving jars with lids

Rinse the olives and using the knife, make a cut along the side of each. Cutting the olives will speed the curing process. Place the olives in a pail or bowl and soak them in water, making sure that all of the olives are submerged. If necessary, you can place a plate or other object on top of them to weigh them down.

Stir the olives and change the water every day for 21 days.

Make a brine solution, using one part salt to 10 parts water. Make sure that the salt is completely dissolved in the water by warming the water and stirring. Drain the olives and place them in the brine solution. Leave them for three days, stirring periodically.

Rinse a couple of the olives and taste them to see if they have lost enough of their bitterness to suit your taste. If not, add more salt and leave them for a few more days until they taste the way you want them to. Check them daily. When the olives are ready, rinse them. Let them drain for a couple of hours.

Prepare a mixture of vinegar and water, using one part white wine vinegar to two parts water and soak the olives in the vinegar mixture for three days, stirring occasionally. The olives are now cured, so drain them again.

Place the herbs, spices or other flavorings into the sterilized jars. These could include garlic cloves, oregano, rosemary, thyme or dried pepper flakes. The amount of these to include is up to you and using them is entirely optional.

Pack the black olives into the prepared jars and pour olive oil over them until they are well covered. Seal the jars and store them in the refrigerator.

Tips & Warnings

  • The olive oil that is used in this recipe will become flavorful. The Olive Market website says that this olive oil is excellent for salads once it is no longer needed for the black olives.

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