How to Preserve Olives that will last 2 years
I often get asked how I preserve olives. Crazy talk for a very Anglo origin girl, but even my immigrant Italian neighbours asked me how I do mine! My method for olives is a hybrid of knowledge from my friend Jo and the book Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning by Chelsea Green.
After I collected enough olives, black and green and in between, I wash the olives and then I spend some time in front of the TV (probably watching some period drama) cutting slits in them. I use a little paring-style knife to cut up to three slits for big olives, but one or two cuts will be enough. When I say slits it’s really just a stab, no length to the cut as such.
As I cut them I place them in plastic colanders. They must be plastic colanders as metal will react with the salt in the next step. Then I place the colanders in a catching tray and salt them with coarse sea salt and give them a shake. After 2 weeks of salting them and shaking them daily they loose all their bitter juices, go dark and shrivel a bit. I still have one batch going, here it is with it’s juices in the tray below, you can see the olives still have some green patches so they’re not done yet. I empty the catching tray regularly as there’s not much clearance and they might end up sitting in their own juices.
Once the olives are fairly uniform in colour and wrinkliness I rinse the salt off the olives and leave them to drain. While draining I chop up chili, garlic and thyme (all from our garden – I love that olives and chillis are in season at the same time!!)
After sterilising my jars in the oven I combine the herbs and olives and put them in the jars.
Then top them off with 100% Australia Pure Olive Oil, making sure they’re completely covered so none of the olives are exposed to air. Now to close them up and let them marinade in the cupboard for a week or more… then eat – yum!
When I first started preserving olives I did quite a big batch, and as I’m the only one who eats them, except for when we have guests, we didn’t get through them all in the first year (despite giving some away as gifts too!). Having stored them in a cool and dark place they lasted over 2 years brilliantly! And just as well because I missed the next picking season with moving house and sanding floorboards.
Hope this helps you save the bounty, eat local and share something with a friend or loved one, or even to placate your neighbour from complaining about your chickens being noisy.