What’s Cooking?…Preserving Olives

What’s Cooking?…Preserving Olives.

There are moments in life where food as an experience is unforgettable.  I think that is because it engages so many of the senses.  Like if you are travelling and looking at many things its wonderful but the memory is not as vibrant as when you are   also eating something wonderful, because smell, taste, vision and the eating make it more powerful when these senses are combined.   Olives were not always one of my favourite foods and lets face it they can vary enormously, however there are moments when they are so so good, the memory lives on.  For instance, at a spur of the moment we took the train from Paris to Marseille, on a Sunday after Bastille Day.  It seemed like a good day to get out-of-town.  The train ride was wonderful through the southern French countryside and arriving in Marseille it was 39 degrees Celsius.  On Sundays, no food is served there in the local restaurants, only drinks and ice creams!  We were ravenous.  So we wandered around the back streets of Marseille  until we stumbled upon a little bakery which was very busy and they were serving out pizzas,  mainly.  So we ordered a large pizza and my strongest memory was of how delicious it was and one of the main ingredients was small whole black olives, mixed with the cheese and bacon. Unforgettable!

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Over the years I have preserved a lot of olives.  I have tried all sorts of methods and solutions, salting and cracking, slicing and pitting.  I have learned that the type of olive being used is as important as the method used to preserve it.  Today I am sharing with you one of my all time favorites.  It is not difficult but one of the most important ingredients is time.

Black Kalamata Olives are what I am preserving today.   You can use this recipe for other olives too.

Kalamata olive – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalamata_olive

 

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some Kalamata Olives, by all means do.  Maybe you will have a chance to pick them one day, but that’s another story!

This is how I do it.

Ingredients

Black Kalamata Olives
Water
Iodised cooking salt
White Vinegar
Oregano
Whole dried chilis – optional
Preserving jars
Method
Use fresh black Kalamata Olives.  The olives should be handled with care to prevent bruising.  Carefully put olives in a large bucket or receptacle.  Cover well with water.  Change the water every day if possible, or at least every second day for 10 days.
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Prepare sterile jars or wide mouth bottles for preserving.
Make the preserving solution.
1.5 litres of water
150g salt
Bring the water and salt to the boil in a medium saucepan.  Turn off.  Add 150ml of white vinegar.  Allow to cool a little.
Drain olives and rinse.  Gently spoon into jars.  Cover the olives completely with the warm brine solution.  Add one teaspoon of dried oregano to each bottle.  Add one chili too, if desired.  Seal well.  Make more preserving solution as required.  Store the olives for 6 to 12 months before using.  (I prefer 12 months).
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When the olives are ready, remove quantity required and drain well.  Add a little quality olive oil and extra flavourings if desired, like Black pepper, garlic, chilli, oregano.  Or serve on your favorite salad, pizza, platter bread or Puttanesca pasta.
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