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Home Cured Oil Spiced Green Olives

home cured green olives by jarOhoney.comHOME CURED OIL SPICED GREEN OLIVES

Well it has happened —after painfully waiting for months for these bad boys to cure…. It is time to let the world know. Yes folks, I took on the project for home curing fresh green olives. Since I did not use chemicals (lye) or any other preservatives except sea salt, it seemed like it took forever! I have always wanted to try to cure my own olives, so this mission began.

In September, I searched online for a source of fresh organic green olives. I was in luck because not only is there an olive orchard a couple of hours from me but they ship them. The variety of olives that I purchased were raw green organically grown olives, actually 17 pounds of them. I got them from Chaffin Family Orchards out of Oroville, CA. Not only do they have raw olives for sale but they also have other goodies like olive oil too. Most of you would ask why in the world would someone go through all that trouble for olives? We first off I got these olives for $2.65 a pound including shipping. Yes I had to wait 3 months for them to cure…. Yes I could have just bought them at the store (note for about $10.00 a pound)… but if I bought them you would not have this amazing recipe and article, now would you?

So now on to the processing….The first process after you get your fresh raw olives is to pick through them and remove any broken or damaged olives. Then give them a good rinse and remove any leaves or stems. Here is what 17 pounds of olives look like…

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Now that you have picked trough them, you will get a clean 5 gallon bucket and a mallet. Take each olive and lightly bruise them on all sides, try not to hit too hard as you will break them open. This is time consuming but a necessary step to allow them to properly cure. As you bruise them place them in the bucket. Once all of your olives are bruised, cover them with clean cold water and place a plate on them to weigh them down. Change the water every 24 hours for 6 weeks….. YES 6 weeks. Note this is a long process but naturally water curing them will produce the best results. Every week I would taste one of them to witness the process. Raw green olives start off very bitter; so when you water cure them the bitterness seeps out of them thus resulting in a buttery and smooth olive flavor when they are done.

So after the first 6 weeks, it is time to decide what the end result will be. I knew that I wanted to stuff some of them, salt brine some and oil spice (recipe to follow) some of them. So the next step that I did was separate according to size. All of the largest olives I pit with a hand olive pitting tool for aged blue cheese stuffed. The larger medium ones I pit so that I could stuff them with either garlic or bell peppers. I left a mixture of the small and medium ones whole so that I may just salt cure and oil spice. You must note that this amount of olives produced 4 half-gallon jars and 12 quart jars of olives so get the list of people you want to give these to as gifts.

Now that I have them all separated and in the labeled jars (of what I am doing with them), I make a solution of 1 to 4 sea salt to water (i.e.1 cup salt to 4 cups water)and fill the jars and cover them. I put them in a dry cool area and allowed them to sit for 4 weeks, shaking them occasionally. Besure that the olives are completely covered with the solution or they might mold. Now that they have set this additional time, on to stuffing or oil spicing them. Once you stuff the olives, cover with fresh salt solution and set for 1 week then drain. Now cover with fresh salt solution (for salty) or organic olive oil (for smooth and creamy), seal tightly or can the jars. If you do not can them, then keep them in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks if they last that long! ODE TO OLIVES!

A CHEFS TIP: Although I recommend you water curing your own olives , this recipe can be used on any water cured unseasoned green olives that you may find at the local market….

OIL SPICED OLIVES (per 4 cups water cured olives)

1 cup high quality organic olive oil

1/4 cup dried organic orange peel pieces (I just tear orange peel into small pieces and dry)

1/4 cup dried organic rosemary leaves and stems (I just dried fresh then used)

4 fresh organic garlic cloves split lengthwise

4 cups water cured organic whole olives, drained

1 liter organic olive oil

In a large non stick pan, put in the 1 cup oil, orange peel, rosemary, and garlic, heat on medium while constantly stirring. Once this mixture started to lightly bubble, put in the drained olives. Stir constantly and cook for 7 minutes, be sure not to brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour. Place in a large clean glass jar and fill the jar with the remaining oil. Seal and ENJOY!!

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