A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have a bucket of olives given to me by my mother-in-law’s friend. Not really sure what the exact olive variety is but these plump black beauties looked like big, juicy dark cherries and I couldn’t wait to preserve them.
Preserving olives is quite a trouble free process but will stretch over a couple of weeks of simple steps to bottle them, and then there is a month or so of waiting before you can enjoy them.
The key steps are to soak them in water for up to 10 days, mix them with the flavourings, bottle them and pour over the brine vinegar before sealing them and leaving them to pickle for at least one month.
My recipe calls for slitting the olives, but, to be honest, I never have time to do this…just a bit lazy, I guess, but they seem to turn out fine!
I use the same method for green olives and sometimes add coriander seeds instead of rosemary.
It is lovely to see a row of perfectly preserved jars sitting on the kitchen bench, and whenever someone drops in, they go home with a little jar of my black beauties tucked under their arm!
- 4 kg fresh black olives
- 2 litres water (for brine)
- 200g rock salt
- 500ml white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 bunch rosemary, cut into sprigs
- 1 tablespoon chilli flakes
- extra virgin olive oil
- Cut two slits into each olive, place in a bucket and cover with water. Drain and change
- water daily for 7-10 days until olives are only mildly bitter.
- Boil water and salt together and allow to cool, mix in vinegar. Dry fry fennel seeds in a frying pan until toasted and aromatic. Peel and finely slice garlic cloves. Drain
- olives of soaking water and combine with fennel, garlic, rosemary and chilli and place into sterilised jars. Cover with brine solution and top with a 1cm layer of olive oil. Seal and keep for a month before eating. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.