Olives -
Three Recipes for Curing


Greek-Style Ripe Olives 

For this recipe, choose olives that are red to dark red. Slash each olive deeply on one side using a very sharp knife to reduce bruising. Place olives in a large stoneware, earthenware, glass, or porcelain container. Make a solution of 4 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1 quart water, and pour enough over the olives to cover; then weight the olives with a piece of wood or a plastic bag filled with water so that all of them are completely submerged. Store in a cool place, changing the solution once a week for three weeks. If a scum forms on the surface during that time, disregard it until it is time to change the brine; then rinse the olives with fresh water before covering with brine again. The scum is harmless. At the end of three weeks, taste one of the largest olives. If it is only slightly bitter (these olives should be left with a bit of a tang), pour off the brine and rinse the olives. If the olives are too bitter to be put in the marinade, rebrine and soak for another week; then rinse and marinate. Then marinate them with the proper amount of liquid to cover in a marinade made according to these proportions: 


  • 1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Float enough olive oil to form a l/4-inch layer on top of the marinating olives. The olives will be ready to eat after sitting in the marinade for just a few days. Store, still in the marinade, in a cool pantry, or in the refrigerator. If kept too long, the lemon and vinegar flavors will predominate, so eat these within a month after they are ready. 

From: The Feast of the Olive by Maggie Blyth Klein (Aris Books)


Olive Pickling  
By: Maria Stavropoulos - as seen on The Food Lovers Guide to Australia 



  • 2 kg olives (preferably Kalamata or similar), slit and soaked (see steps 1 and 2) 
  • 1.25 litres water 
  • 3 tablespoons table salt, approximately 
  • 600 mls white vinegar 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 4 teaspoons oregano, dried 
  • 1 - 4 small red chilies 
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil 


You will need 4 good-sized glass jars, washed and sterilized with boiling water and one uncooked whole egg in its shell for testing salt levels in the water. 

Slit the olives on both sides - a fine slit at the top of each side will do. (This will help release their bitter juice). You can also ‘crack’ them by pounding each one enough to split the flesh slightly. 

Leave them to soak in salted water, changing the water each day, for a week.  Wash and drain the olives and place them in the clean glass jars. 

Fill a bowl with the water and add the salt. Float an egg in the bowl - when it is submerged to the point that only a 10c piece-sized circle of the egg’s surface remains above the water, there is enough salt in the 

Add the vinegar. Cover the olives in the jars with the salted water and vinegar mix, add chilies, garlic and fresh oregano and finish with a layer of olive oil to seal. 

Set aside for about 3 to 4 weeks or until the olives are ready. 


Salt-Cured Ripe Olives 


These flavorful, if bitter, shriveled dry-cured olives - sometimes called oil-cured - will not keep nearly as well as brine-cured olives. Because of that and the fact that they are so pungent and not to everybody's liking, you might want to make only a small quantity of them. Use olives that are black or almost black. Mission olives are the best because of their high oil content and small size. Extra-large olives, such as the Sevillano, become soft. 

Cover the bottom of a thick cardboard or wooden box with burlap or cheesecloth. In the box, mix together equal weights of non-iodized salt and olives. Spread out evenly; then pour a layer of non-iodized salt over the olives so that nearly all of them are covered, using an additional pound or so of salt. Place the box outdoors in the shade or in a basement so any liquid that oozes from it will not stain a floor or decking. Stir the salt-covered olives well with a wooden spoon once a week for four weeks, or until the olives are cured. They should be slightly bitter. 

Remove the olives from the salt by hand (unfortunately, I have found no better method). Dip the olives in a large pot of rapidly boiling water for a few seconds; then drain in a colander and refresh with cold tap water. After spreading them out on paper towels, let them dry for a few hours or overnight. Those olives you wish to eat within a few days should be coated with fruity olive oil (rub them with your fingers to distribute the oil), mixed with your favorite herbs, and kept in the refrigerator in a tightly capped jar. The remainder of the olives should be mixed at a ratio of two parts olives to one part non-iodized salt by weight and kept in a cool place or refrigerated. They do not keep more than a month. 

From: The Feast of the Olive by Maggie Blyth Klein (Aris Books)