Brine-Cured Olives

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recipe: "Brine-curing" from "How to Cure Green Olives" by
Rating: Great. Easy, but the olives need to sit in the brine for months.
Status: Made once.

This fall, when I saw some fresh uncured olives at the farmer's market, I decided to buy a few handfuls (0.75 lbs) to try out curing them. Olives can be cured with water, lye, or brine. After some Internet research, I decided to use the brine-curing method from, since it only requires a few ingredients (kosher salt, vinegar, and water) and needs very little attention.

Brine-curing is extremely easy but it does take months. I started brining Oct 26. Mine were edible by Dec 21, but I think I'll cure it a little longer just to pull out any residual bitterness. When I bought the olives, I only bought a small amount to try the process; I didn't realize that the process would take so long. Next time, I'll buy more since after all that waiting, it would be nice to have my home cured olives around for longer.

This recipe makes enough brine for 0.75 lbs of olives. For more olives, adjust the ratios proportionally, until you have enough brine to cover your olives by at least an inch or two.

  • 0.75 lbs fresh uncured olives*
The Brine:
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of white wine, cider vinegar, or simple white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
Special Equipment:
  • large glass jar(s)
  • cheesecloth
Discard any olives that have a round brown scar from an insect burrowing into it (if it is from an olive fly larvae, then the insect is likely to be still inside).

Stir all brine ingredients together until the salt is dissolved.

Place olives in a large glass jar. Place a small piece of cheesecloth over the olives to help keep them submerged to avoid oxidation. Pour the brine over the olives. Since some of the liquid will evaporate over time, the brine should cover the olives by at least an inch or two; if not, then make more brine and pour over the olives.

Cover loosely. Store in a cool dark place. The brine will darken over time. Change the brine every month or two. The brine should completely cover the olives; add more brine if it evaporates and is barely covering the olives.

After a few months, taste an olive. The olives are done when they don't taste bitter anymore. Olives picked in October may take until May or June until they are ready to eat.

Keeps a year or more when stored in brine.

* Look for fresh uncured olives in farmer's markets in the fall.


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