It was fun in January to pick any olives we had and take a car boot full to a next village to have them separated from any unwanted leaves and weighed (see post here). We were keen to keep some decent looking olives to one side and to preserve them in jars, this is how we did it…
Whilst sitting down in the evening to watch a film take each olive from a bowl, prick it with a fork and then put it into another bowl.
When all the olives are pricked place them loosely into clean glass jars (Big jam jars, chickpea jars etc etc) Only fill two thirds of the jar with olives, the rest will be filled with salt. Use coarse salt.
Each day for ten days shake each of the jars and turn over. When the jars are upside down they may leak a little so place them on a tray or cloth to catch any salty water.
After ten days the salt will be completely wet and you are ready for the next step. The olives need to be rinsed really, really thoroughly to remove all of the salt, and then left to drain for at least an hour (The first time I preserved olives, they were not rinsed enough and so tasted too salty. If in doubt do the lick test, if the olives still taste salty rinse and repeat).
Now pack the olives into jars with lots of olive oil and any optional ingredients you fancy such as Thyme, Bay, Garlic, Peppercorns, dried chillies, Rosemary.
Store the jars away somewhere cool, don’t be tempted to open for at least a month, when you do open, try one, and leave for a few more weeks if required. If you leave the olives in oil for years, the flavour will get better and better but the olives will become a little softer. The batch I made in mid January are now ready to eat. (Not too salty, yay!)
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