Olives are ready to harvest from your tree from late autumn. So what's the difference between green and black olives? Well, they are exactly the same fruit, it's just black olives have been picked when they are riper than the green ones. There are many ways to cure olives, but the essential thing is to extract the chemicals that make the olives bitter.
How to Brine Olives
Following a good wash, slit each olive to break the skin and ensure the brine can really penetrate.
Now it’s time to make up the brine.
• Rock or sea salt
• 1 uncooked egg in shell
1. Warm some water in a pan and add a handful of salt, stirring to dissolve. Then, add the egg (still in its shell). The egg is your brine barometer – if it floats, your water is sufficiently salty. If it sinks, add more salt. Once your egg is floating, it’s time to jar up. Genius, right?
2. Pack your olives into a clean jar (push them down, the tighter the better) and pour the cooled brine over the lot until the olives are submerged.
3. Pack the olives in tightly so they don't have much chance of floating and fill the brine to the very top of the jar and seal.
4. Keep your olives somewhere dark, but not so hidden that you don’t remember to shake them up them every few days. The back of your food cupboard is a good place.
How long to brine?
Taste them every a 2-3 weeks and get to know the taste of brining olives – you’ll soon get a feel for when they’re as you like them.
After the brine?
Drain the brine from your olives and decide to store them in olive oil, in vinegar, or in newly-made brine in the cupboard for up to 6 months. Adding herbs or spices at this point is good.
All that's left to do is eat them!