Across the street there is an abandoned olive grove. The trees are very large and here in February, they are still holding on to last year’s fruit. The fruit is dark black in color at this point. It saddens me to see these trees so neglected, especially when I’m such an olive lover and I know what the potential is for these trees.
Courtney, our son, Cowboy and I go for walks through the orchard on sunny afternoons when I’m done with work. One day we decided to pick a few olives and try our hand at curing them. At least someone will get some enjoyment from these olives – me!
Salt cured and oil cured black olives are my absolute favorite, although a good oil can’t be beaten. I don’t have the proper equipment for pressing and its too late for these olives anyways. I got out a mason jar and layered in the olives and salt. I give them a shake about once a day to ensure that the olives are always in contact with fresh salt. As the salt draws the moisture out of the olives it will become wet. Shaking will force more dry salt to cling to the olives. I don’t know why I’m talking as if I’m an expert because I’ve never done this before. I’m just doing what I think is logical and I’ll let you know how it turns out.
After about a week the salt is pretty saturated, so I dumped it out into a jelly roll pan. I used the basket strainer to shake as much of the salt off of the olives as i could, and then I put them back into a second mason jar with fresh salt for another week. I’m going to dry out the salt for a few days and then start a second batch with the same salt. Here’s a picture I took after I was done.
I’m going to do this until they look well shriveled, like those yummy olives at the olive bar in upscale grocery stores. When I determine that they are done in the salt, you want to rinse them off and let them dry overnight. Then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I’ve read that they don’t have a terribly long shelf life as compared to other curing methods, but that won’t be a problem because I’ll eat them quickly!