For centuries a traditional component of the highly-touted Mediterranean diet, olives, according to The George Mateljan Foundation's World's Healthiest Foods, are rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, polyphenols, and flavonoids, all of which work in one way or another to protect your heart and gastrointestinal tract, fight free radicals, and reduce the effects of arthritis and asthma. That's a whole lot of healthy stuff in a tiny package. You can prepare your own olives at home without all the chemicals and preservatives found in commercial brands. It's a lengthy process, but it's easy and well worth the effort.
Things You'll Need
2 lbs. fresh black olives
Large glass bowl
Airtight glass jars
Rinse 2 lbs. fresh black olives well in cool water.
Cut two deep vertical slits into each olive.
Place the olives in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 4 cups distilled water.
Pour the salt mixture (brine) over the olives. The olives should be completely covered.
Place a plate over the olives to force them under the brine. Place a heavy object like a marble mortar or a clean brick on top of the plate to weigh it down.
Allow the olives to soak in the brine for one week. During the week, stir the brine and olives every other day.
Drain the brine from the olives at the end of the first week.
Repeat Steps 3 through 7. At the end of the second week, taste the olives. If they are still too bitter for your taste, repeat Steps 3 through 7 once again. Continue to repeat until the olives are to your liking.
Remove the finished olives from the brine with a slotted spoon and place them into airtight glass jars. Fill each jar approximately two-thirds full with olives.
Pour fresh brine (same recipe as before) over the olives. Leave approximately a quarter of an inch of head space at the top of each jar.
Store the olives at room temperature for up to three weeks or in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Add spices and flavors to taste, if desired. Sprinkle them over the finished olives after you have transferred them to their jars but before you pour the fresh brine over them. Some suggestions: dehydrated garlic, lemon zest, dried oregano, or a few dashes of olive oil.
Discard olives if they become moldy, slimy, or taste rotten.