Here is a collection of information that you may find helpful.
- VIDEO – Part 1 – – Collect olives
The video does not give too much information. What we saw in Spain was people setting tarps below the trees, then shaking them or blowing them with a leaf blower. Once on a tarp, the olives can be easily gathered.
- VIDEO – Part 2 – – Score and brine 1 CU salt per gallon of water
This video shows each olive being scored individually. Very labor intensive. A quicker way is to just rap them lightly with a hammer or mallet, then toss them into the brine.
- VIDEO – Part 3 – – Change brine weekly
This is a surprisingly important step. If you don’t change the brine, your olives become stagnant and will take on a kind of musty and dirty taste.
- VIDEO – Part 4 – – Try one in 15 weeks – If too bitter, brine three more weeks
Our friend in Velez brined his olives for only two weeks. We tried them, and they were pretty awful, but he likes them that way. “It’s an acquired taste.”
Another site that I found said to soak them in clear water for the first few weeks, changing the water every couple of days. What I did was change the water every 2-3 days for the first three weeks, then change to a weekly brine after that. I don’t know why, it just seems right, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I also found one recipe that put chopped up lemon pieces, a bit of oregano, garlic and cumin, and some vinegar into the brine. Add these if the mood strikes you. Also, adding some whole dried peppers would give your olives a bit of a bite. I personally like the lemon peel idea.
Here is one more video that offers an alternate method, and some good insights:
All things considered, here is what I plan to do:
- Go through your olives and remove any that are shriveled or blemished
- Clean the good olives using LOTS of water
- Smack the olives to break the skin to allow the brining solution access to the meat of the olive.
- Heat 1 gallon of water to near boiling, and add 2 CU ice cream maker salt
NOTE: This is NOT edible, but then again, neither is lye. It will be rinsed off by the time we are done.
Melt the salt in hot water, then pour through a coffee filter to remove the gravel, grit, etc.
- Pour to cover the olives, using a plate to completely submerge them. See Video Parts 2 and 3 above.
- One time per week (same time) drain the water and repeat step 4 – Do this for four weeks… mark your calendar
- Step 5 is intended to remove much of the bitterness
- After the first four weeks move to a phase that is intended more to preserve and clean the olives
NOTE: To be sure grit is gone, rinse them in a bowl of standing water. Remove by hand, not by dumping, into a colander. Discard grit in the bottom of the bowl, and put olives back into their brining container
- Heat 1 gallon of water to near boiling, and add 1 CU food-quality course sea salt
- Recover olives, completely submerging them
- Do this for ten more weeks.
- Rinse and taste an olive. If the olive still tastes bitter, repeat steps 9, 10 and 12 for two more weeks.
- Once the olives are to your liking either can them or refrigerate them.
- To refrigerate them, heat 1 gallon of water, and add 1/2 CU course sea salt (Proportionally adjust amounts if necessary)
- Put olives in a canning jar and refrigerate.
- They should keep refrigerated for up to two months.