Home Cured Olives, Part I

          So you know we actually live in Tunisia where I have heard it is against the law to cut down an olive tree.  I wasn’t planning to anyway, but it definitely indicates an attachment and commitment to the tree.  Of course, we can buy a large variety of commercially-cured olives here, year-around, but I have wondered what would be involved in curing them myself.  You can buy fresh olives this time of year for as little as 1 dinar (about 70 cents) for 1 kg.  so aside from the waste involved in a failed attempt, it’s not an expensive exploration.  I bought 2 kgs. of these beautes yesterday at the market.

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.

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