|Fresh raw olives|
We can only get black mission olives from our farmer and while I used to always buy Calamata from the store, I have learnt to enjoy Black Mission now.
In the beginning I wonder why I put myself through this as I change the water each day for 2 weeks. It's a bother to drain the water and refill all these jars each day. For this process I only use tap water but later on I switch to spring water for the long wait.
So after 2 weeks of sitting in fresh water, changed everyday I switch them to brine. They sit in brine for up to 3 months which draws out the last bitterness and allows them to develop their flavor.
Figuring out the water to salt ratio is fun the first time but to get it right with each jar it becomes a bit long in the tooth as I end up pouring more and more salt into the water to get the egg to float.The floating egg indicates the right amount of salinity to the water which is the perfect brine ratio.
After about 3 months I rinse an olive or two from each 5 liter jar and taste it. They are very salty at this stage but what I am looking for is no bitter after taste. If they are not at this stage then they stay in the brine for a few more weeks. I taste again more or less every two weeks until they are salty, but bitter free.
I then add something different in the line of herb or spice. This years batches are one each of chilli and fennel seed. Another 2 jars received about 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary and still another 2 recieved handfulls of majoram. Another 2 were left with just garlic. I do not add salt to this last solution as the olives retain enough salt from the brining process.
Lastly I add a generous layer of locally produced olive oil called Olive Pickers. I could buy the cheaper imported stuff, but I like the flavour of this one.
In our home, olives are eaten daily as anytime snacks, used in breads and salads and this year I am very keen to make some tapenades...but we'll see.
Have you tried curing olives?