Some of the most popular posts on my blog are about pickling olives or how to dress them once they are pickled.
And I have also had many conversations with people about how to pickle olives so it is time to reveal another pickling method that has worked for my olives for the last couple of years.
I have to say that my olives are small in size and if your olives are larger, this pickling process may take a much longer time. What you could do, is put a split on the side of each olive – this will assist the pickling process.
My tree is in a large pot on my balcony and I bought is from a plant nursery where it was labelled as a Paragon olive tree – it would be called a Frantoio olive tree in Tuscany. Frantoio (Paragon) olives are small and oval in shape and they are mainly used for extracting oil. In the photo below the Paragon olives are on the left and Kalamata olives are on the right.
A ‘Frantoio’ is also the hydraulic press used to extract oil and the processing plant or factory is also called a ‘Frantoio’.
The color of an olive is an indication of its ripeness. Green olives ripen and go from green to light brown and purple, to black. If I am using brine (salt and water) I pick the olives when they begin to turn from green to violet and I go through the usual process of keeping them submerged in a bucket of water and changing the water every day before I place them into brine. Because olives do not all ripen at once I may need to pick the olives in stages and follow through to the pickling process in batches – I cannot say that it is one of my favourite occupations.
However for the last couple of years olive ripening time has coincided with travelling and not wanting to waste the olives I have collected them all at once – green, purple and black – I eliminated the process of the changing of water and all the olives went straight into pickling using water, salt, wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
And this process has worked (for the past two years). The olives are probably more bitter than previous years but I do not mind that at all. I usually leave them about 5-6 months before I eat them.
Every two years the tree produces a large crop and I may collect about 2 kilos of olives. I pickle my olives in a crockpot which I leave on my balcony (there is no room for a crockpot inside my small apartment).
When they are ready I transfer them to jars and add fennel seeds and dry oregano to them. Notice that there is always oil on top and that the olives are submerged.
There are various other ingredients that I add to olives when I dress them (See my other posts about olives).
2 kg olives
1 ½ litres water
5 tbsp heaped salt (I use sea salt for everything)
600 ml wine vinegar
600 ml extra virgin olive oil
Wash and drain the olives and place them in a clean glass jar; I use a crockpot.
Boil the water and add the salt – make sure that it is dissolved. The way to test if the water is salty enough is to float an egg in the water and if the egg’s surface remains above the water, there is enough salt in the water. If it sinks add more salt. Wait till it is cool.
Add the vinegar and cover the olives in the jars finishing with a good layer of olive oil to seal. Use some mesh to keep them submerged – they must be covered.
Set aside until the olives are ready.
More Posts about Pickling Olives: