Juicing Up Your Juice
The Science of Sweet in the San Francisco Chronicle

Brining Olives at Home

For the past couple years I've been wanting to try curing my own olives after reading about it on a food blogger's website. Then when Karen Solomon's awesome book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It came out I had instructions.

I carefully searched the news for ripe olive time, and noticed that the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival runs in December through February. So I planned to hunt for olives in December at the farmer's markets.

Raw-olives-bowl-tops

But it turns out there was a problem with that logic. Smartly they throw an olive festival after all the olives have ripened and had weeks or months to cure in brine solution. So when I started looking around at farmer's markets in December the olives were already all gone. Curses!

But wait!

On a tip from a friend, I went to a produce market in Berkeley where they still had some. But oh they were sad little wilty dry olives. The black ones almost looked like raisins, so I bought some green ones instead. I didn't want to wait a whole year to try this experiment again, even if I don't have high hopes for these.

There are a few ways to cure olives. One is to use lye, which is a dangerous chemical. As I can't even use my oven without burning myself, lye just wasn't an option.

The other way is to simply use salt and water. I followed directions from Karen Solomon's book. 

Sliced-olives-in-bowls

You slice each olive on one side, cover them with brine, weigh them down with a plate so that they're submerged, and check in on your olives every week for three to six weeks, getting rid of the scum that forms on top of them. 

Olives-in-brines

So that's where I'm at, dear readers, waiting for my olives to cure. Check back for the next exciting installment of this olive brining adventure!

Olives-under-plates

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

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