Last week I noticed this great place on the border of Indiana, called Village Farm Stand, selling raw olives. Above the display was a sheet directing you how to cure them. I was interested but passed as I had to focus on other things.Then the other day I noticed a article in the New York Times on line edition about the art and legacy of curing olives. Well I knew I just had to go back to that store and try it out for my self. It seems olive season is nearing and end, and I didn’t want to waste this chance.The recipe in the the NY Times differs from the one I’m trying out, but both are worth a try.One needs more time than the other. I love olives, and they are rich in lore. It seems I’m the only one that loves them in my world but I think my loved ones have been tainted by bad cheap. I was astounded to read the methods used to commercially cure them. So tonight after class I rolled up my selves and decided to give it a go.
This recipe is courtesy of Village Farm Stand:
For each pound of cured pitted olives:
* few dashes of white wine vinegar
*1 tablespoon cracked fennel seeds
*1 tablespoon of salt
*1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
*1 tablespoon oregano
*1/8 tablespoon red pepper
* olive oil, enough to cover
1. Gently crack the olives with a rolling pin or heavy object, being very careful not to crack the pit.(I tried the rolling pin , but only seemed to smash them, so I slashed them with a knife).
2. Place the olives in a bowl and cover them with water. Weigh down the olives with a plate or some sort of weight to keep them under water, and prevent them from drying out.
3. Change the water twice a day for at least eight days, or until the olives are no longer bitter to the taste. Do not fail; to change the water! This method of curing uses natural, bacterial fermentation and can get icky if you don’t change the water often.Once the olives are no longer bitter, you can remove the pits , making them easier to eat later.
4. In a crock or other heavy , non metallic container,sprinkle vinegar over olives and mix well.
5. Drain Thoroughly. Add the spices and mix again.
6. Place olives in sterile jars and cover with olive oil. Ensure that the olives are fully covered, and that there are no air bubbles. Tap the bottom of the container to help release bubbles.
7. Allow to stand at least one week fro flavor to develop. After desired flavor is achieved , the olives can be kept at room temperature, but it is best to refrigerate them for the longest freshest flavor. If refrigerated , allow to return to room temperature for full flavor. The leftover olive oil, can be used in salads or to saute meats.
Here is a link to the NY Times article. In addition here is a recipe that’s a part of the article called Nono’s Olives. This recipe differs greatly from the previous. Notice the lack of salt used in curing. I’m sticking to the simplest one for now and will post my results after the process. Tonight I have just ‘cracked’ them and will begin the eight day process. I also plan to add garlic and chili flakes to my olives.If I like the result , then next fall I’ll buy a case and make my years worth of olives knowing that I cured them and they are pure and fresh.