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How To: Cure & Preserve Olives

Is it olive harvest season yet? Olive harvest is widely celebrated in Palestine - it represents family, roots, peace, health, purity and resilience. Olives are a staple in every Palestinian or middle eastern household. I am always extremely happy to find some fresh green olives in the market here in Toronto so I can bring some of that joy here!

The process I’m sharing with you is one both my grandmothers used to do to cure and preserve the olives! Its very easy, requires a few ingredients and best of all they’ll be ready to eat within a few days as opposed to the usual « brine » process that takes weeks before they are edible!

Submerged in olive oil these fresh olives will be good for months! They’re delicious

The olive oil used to submerge the olives will not go to waste! You can eat it with the olives, use some to drizzle on some labneh or dip with some zaatar!

You'll Need:

Olives: Always make sure you pick firm green olives, not overripe.

Tools: The olives would need to be cracked first. You can use a pestle, mallet, the bottom of a jar or even a stone.

Water: This will be used to cure the olives for the first 8 hours and reduce the bitterness.

Salt: Salt will help the olives release their liquid and get rid of the bitterness.

Lemon & Peppers: Used for flavor but also prevents the olives from going bad.

Olive Oil: Perhaps the most important ingredient. Olives will need to be fully submerged in olive oil once ready to preserve them in your pantry for months.

How To: Cure & Preserve Olives

  1. Wash olives

  2. Crack the olives. Smack the pestle, or tool of choice, once or maybe twice to crack them. It’s enough if the flesh tears. Try not to mash them or damage their pits. Alternatively you can slit them using a knife.

  3. In a large bowl, cure the olives in water for 8 hours or overnight to help remove the bitterness

  4. Remove the water completely and return to the bowl

  5. Sprinkle generously with salt - about a full tablespoon for every 2 lbs of olives.

  6. Add the juice of a lemon then chop the lemon and add it to the bowl.

  7. Chop in 1-2 hot peppers - like Serrano or green chilli peppers

  8. Toss and cover.

9. Keep on your countertop for about 4 days, tossing every time you walk into the kitchen

10. You’ll notice the green olives are turning dark and will start releasing some liquid.

11. Try one olive and if you’re satisfied with the taste and they are no longer bitter, then they're ready!

12. Drain the excess liquid completely and discard the lemons and pepper.

13. Transfer the olives to a jar. Optional: You can add a fresh batch of lemons and peppers to the olives in the jar.

14. Add olive oil to the jar until all olives are fully submerged.

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