Some of you may recall that a few months ago we began the process of pickling/curing our olives. The olives have been sitting in a salt bath (a 10% salt solution) and the brine changed regularly over the past four weeks or so. Today we tasted a few olives from one of the buckets of fruit – the one that held the riper of the olives – and they were amazing – salty (as they should be at this stage) but tasty and no hint of bitter acid. The remaining buckets of fruit will need just a few more days of soaking then they too will be ready to finish processing.
Once the bitterness has leached away the next step in the process is to rinse off the heavy salt water brine and prepare a new mix of water, salt and vinegar. The rinsed olives are loosely packed in a sterilised jar, the new salt/vinegar brine is poured over to cover the olives and a layer of olive oil seals the mix. The jars are then stored in a cupboard/pantry for about one month. At this point the flavours will have matured and the olives are ready to eat – just rinse off required amount (some say leave olives in plain water in the fridge for 24 hours to leach some of the salt away), then sprinkle with herbs/flavourings of your choice – chilli or red capsicum, garlic or lemon juice and finish with a dash of olive oil and let marinade in fridge for a few hours before ready to eat. YUM!
The jars of olives in the vinegar/salt water brine will keep for about a year in the pantry. Hopefully they will last until next seasons fruit is harvested…but I am not sure about that, they are so delicious.