A few weeks ago, I began a project of home-curing olives. Step 1 was to crack each one with a meat mallet and then soak them in water, drained daily, until they reached a palatable level of bitterness. Part of the art of olive making, I discovered, is finding the perfect stage at which to stop the water bath. I tasted an olive on day 8 and spat it into the sink. Too bitter, still. Then I tasted one on day 10 and uh oh, it tasted a little watery to me, a little washed out which I read can happen. I quickly drained them at that moment and decided to go ahead with the brine to see what would happen. For approximately 2 kgs. of fresh olives, I used the following formula for the brine:
Since this process technically falls under the heading of preserving food, I got some good advice so I don’t end up growing something undesirable, like bacteria. I figured the University of California, Department of Agriculture and Resources would have this researched. They have a 26 page e-booklet called Olives: Safe Methods for Home Pickling.
I wanted to get the very long process started and think more about the brine in a few days so I chose the method for Mediterranean Cracked Olives. One begins by cracking the olives, but not the pits, with a mallet or rolling pin and submerging them in a water bath, changing the water twice daily, for at least 10 days or until enough of the bitterness has been removed.
This was a nifty suggestion for keeping the olives submerged. It is simply a Ziploc bag filled with water.
You can already see the oil floating to the top. I’ll let you know what I’ve got in 10 days.