Until few months ago, raw green olives scared me. They were not brined, they were not marinated, they required months in the making and, if something was to go wrong, all work and waiting would be in vain and disappointment levels would reach sky limits. Right? Wrong.
Green (or black) raw olives are today one of my best friends & favorite pantry items. Yes, they do require a bit of brine time, but that is soooo easy to do. Yes, they need marinating, but it is so so easy and fun to help them develop amazing flavors. And yes, there is some waiting time involved, but it IS worth it. We now have many jars full of the best olives in the world, naturally preserved, with no additives or funky ingredients, all for a price next to nothing and little effort on our part.
When olive season strikes in your corner of the world, trust me and buy yourself few kilos of green or black raw olives and give this recipe a go. When time will come and when you will be enjoying home made marinated olives in all their wholesome goodness, you’ll thank me.
- To brine olives:
- For every 1 kg olives
- about 100 ml vinegar
- 2 TBSP coarse salt
- Mediterranean olive marinade:
- for every 1 cup (160 gr) preserved olives:
- 1 medium garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 1/4 tsp hot chili flakes
- good olive oil (start with 1/3 cup, but you’ll need enough for a generous coating to cover the olives)
- 3-4 TBSP lemon juice
Step 1: PREPARING OLIVES
- To prepare olives, make a simple, straight cut into each one or poke each with a fork. This will allow them to release some of the bitterness and soak flavor faster.
- Place all olives in a big pot, cover them with water and place a big, heavy plate in the pot to keep the olives at the bottom, fully submerged.
- Leave olives in water for 2 weeks, changing the water every day. (I’ve been changing water every day when back from work. Takes only a minute.)
Step 2: ADDING OLIVES TO BRINE
- Sterilize your glass jars and lids first by washing them with warm soapy water and then popping them in the oven at low temp (120C) until completely dry. Allow to cool before handling. (If lids are plastic, do not put them in the oven. Use sterilizing solution.)
- When taking them out of the oven, do not touch them on the inside.
- Add olives to jars, making sure they are packed as tight as possible. Stuff as many as you can.
- To make brine, for every 500ml water, add about 100ml vinegar and 2 TBSP coarse salt. First add salt to a bowl with 3-4 TBSP warm water and stir to dissolve salt. Then add salty water to 500 ml water and 100 ml vinegar and stir to combine.
- Pour brine in the jars filled with olives, to the top of the rim, until it begins to overflow – it is key that no air remains in the jar.
- Screw the lids on the jars, label them and leave them in a dark cupboard for about 2 months
Step 3: MARINATING THE OLIVES – make enough for 1-2 weeks at a time
- Now your olives are ready to take on the flavors of the marinade.
- Rinse olives to remove excess salt and vinegar.
- Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- Add olives to marinade and stir to coat them well.
- Place the olives in a closed jar and add more olive oil if needed to coat them. (Do not worry about wasting olive oil. Whatever will be left after eating the olives will make a wonderful addition to salad dressings!)
- Place olives in the fridge for 1-2 days. Flavors develop as they sit.
- Keeps well for few weeks in the fridge.