Being of European background (I’m Portuguese), I have grown up with organically grown veggies in the garden, having our back yard surrounded by dozen of fruit trees, grape vines hanging off our fences, and mum and dad curing their own salamis, prosciutto and olives all of my life. To me, I have always thought that was been a normal way of living and thought everyone’s family did that.
As a kid, I hated when mum and dad would force me to help out with the picking of the olives from the olive trees or stuffing the meat into the hog casings. I always thought how boring it was and that I could be better off watching whatever cartoon or television show. Fast forward many many years later and now I absolutely love it and get so excited to that time of year again to pick the olives from the olives trees and curate my own style of olives.
Unfortunately my father wasn’t able to teach me how to make my own prosciutto, salamis and olives, as he passed away unexpectedly in 2009. While he was in hospital at the time, as a motivation for him to think positive to want to come back home and improve his health with the power of positive thinking, I would always say to my father: “I need you at home papa. You have to teach me how to make prosciutto, and salami, and those olives!!!” Sadly he never came back home.
A couple of years ago, I asked my amazing mama to finally teach me and I can now proudly say, my olives and salamis are out of this world DELICIOSA!!! …if I do so say myself! 🙂
PREPARING the OLIVES
To prepare the olives you can do two things:
a) make a simple, straight cut or poke with a fork into each olive. What this does is that it will release some of the bitterness and soak flavour a lot faster,
b) just let them be as they are (which is what I do)
Place all olives in a big bucket, cover them with water, so that they are fully submerged.
Leave the olives in the bucket submerged in water for 2 – 3 weeks, changing the water every day (it only (it only takes a few minutes of your time)
INGREDIENTS to MARINADE THE OLIVES
- 3 x medium garlic cloves, chopped
- Bay leaves
- 1 x small lemon, thinly sliced
- Virgin olive oil, half a cup
Just now you can add in all sorts of different herbs and even spices to make up your own style of marinated olives. It’s all trial and error and that becomes the fun bit – experimenting with different condiments to make up your own flavour and style. I would suggest, if you want to make up a few different flavoured marinated olives, is having a few separate buckets of olives so you can add in and mix up the different tastes.
Additional note: if you notice over the coming week to a couple of weeks, some olives having brown spots don’t worry! That is completely normal. There is most definitely nothing wrong with the olives and they haven’t gone off. Just make sure you bucket or large jar is completely sealed at all times.
Take the olives out of the buckets, and remove any excess salt and just hand wash it to get rid of any scum (which is very normal). Up to you on how you mix the olives, whether it be in a large bowl or back in a large bucket like I do. Add your special mixture and stir it well through so that the olives absorb the mixture.
Place the olives in a closed jars or large large buckets (with solid tight lids) with a brine solution (brine is basically salty water). To make brine, you will need to mix in 1/3 cup salt to every 1 litre of water you need. Heat up the salty water in a pot and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Make sure to let the water cool for at least an hour and then pour it completely over the olives.
Next you will then need some olive oil, which you will pour over the top of the brine solution, covering the olives completely. This will preserve the olives longer. Make sure to seal the jars or the large buckets and then leave them for up to four weeks to soak up the deliciosa flavours.
I usually start taste testing one or two after the three and a half week mark just to get a gage on how they are travelling (i.e. if they need more herbs or extra flavours).
The best thing is that you can keep your olives stored for up to six months in the back of your pantry cupboard. You can leave them stored in the brine or in olive oil. The choice is all yours. But I stash my yummy olives in olive oil and the original mixtures.
Good luck and let me know if you marinade your olives and what herbs and/or spices do you add? I would love to hear from you! x