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221 responses to “How to Cure Green Olives”

  1. Kalyn

    I am intrigued by this, and I must confess that until a few weeks ago when I went to visit my step-sister in Sonoma country, I didn’t even realize that olives grew in California!

  2. Fishes and Loaves

    There was a time when my husband and I were considering several acres that had an olive grove, which I believe were mission olive trees. Unfortunately, we never purchased the property but my interest in olives was certainly tickled.

    Thank you for your post and for reminding me there’s an opportunity ’round every corner in my community to get me some olives and get some pickling done. Now if I could only find the time.

  3. Diana

    Ah, I remember those olive trees…. loaded with olives year after year, staining the sidewalks underneath with a rich purple goop as all their olives went unharvested. I miss California and I’m so jealous that you can just walk out and harvest olives.

    You piqued my curiosity and I tried very hard to find a company online that sells raw, uncured olives. I found only one, whose harvest ended a month early this year. If anyone else comes up with a source, PLEASE email me. I’d really love to try this.

  4. adele

    I now have a dreadful craving for olives – and I’m going to be on a train all of tomorrow, so I won’t be able to satisfy it until tomorrow evening!

  5. PitbullLawyer

    Lye curing is even more “stupid easy” than the water-cure, but with a minor element of danger. It results in a buttery “olive oil” tasting olive, as opposed to anything with a ferment-based tang. I’ve got a vat going now. Happy olive curing!

  6. Annie

    Nice post– sounds fun to try. Olive trees are an invasive plant here on our Island, and thus, kept within the confines of “town” at all costs. I hadn’t thought of looking to see if they are producing trees and what variety they might be. I wouldn’t know one from another either, though. I do however have a friend here who grew up on an olive ranch/farm?, so who knows, maybe she’ll know if we can use them. A good exercise in patience too!

  7. Annie

    By the way, have you ever pressed oil?

  8. Joao

    Great post. I’ve been curing olives for a few years in New Zealand and usually get my crop from the streets and parks of Auckland. The brine cure is definitely my favorite but I wouldn’t recommend the lye cure. I’ve tried it with an ash cure and it leaves the olives with absolutely no flavor at all.

  9. Tavydog

    We have tons of olives around here (Redding, CA) – am excited to try curing some this year. Are there any varieties typically found in public areas that are not edible?

  10. VARCA

    Wonderful post. Can we get you over to our lands in Sclafani Bagni, Sicily to manage the curing production on our 5,000 acres?


  11. Peter

    Ahh, lucky California folks…picking some free olives. I’ve cured green olives and water was changed daily for about 30 days.

    It’s a matter of personal taste…keep changing the water each until the bitterness is gone and then, brine to your liking.

    Hank, enjoy!

  12. Elizabeth

    If you want to try and identify, there’s a very cool (and pricey) World Catalogue of Olive Varieties–Shields (main) library at UCD has a copy.

  13. Thayer

    I am in the middle of the water soak with some Sevillanos that I got from It’s been 3 weeks already and they’re still pretty bitter…I’m thinking it will be close to a month by the time they’re ready for the brine.

  14. Barbara

    What a super post. I knew nothing about curing olives- I always learn so much here.
    And, sorry about this, GO BLUE.

  15. Charlotte

    Hey! I went to Beloit (and went to middle school in Madison). Don’t miss Wisconisn though — too grey. And I wish I’d had this recipe when I was at Davis — all those olives going to waste made me a little crazy … no olives in Montana, especially not after the cold spell we’ve just had — single digits at night …

  16. Scott

    This is perfectly timed, Hank. This has been on my “to do” list for some time. I must admit that finding and using lye was a little intimidating. Although, I have seen this water curing before, I have read that the lye cure was the preferred method. But, seeing it done successfully, I will try it. Just saw boxes full of olives earlier today. Thanks again.

  17. Jennifer (4bratz2luv)

    Hi Hank,
    I get my olives from Chaffin Orchards in Oraville. He is on twitter @chaffinorchards. Sells his olives for $1 a pound. They taste great and are Beautiful. Mine are Brining now, i cant wait to eat them!

  18. Yummy

    Very cool – thanks for posting this. I have a friend with some olive trees and we wanted to try brining them.
    Your directions are always so much more accessible than others! Thank you!

  19. Jenny

    Terrific post, Hank!
    I’ve got some olives in water, changing a couple of times a day – but they seem to be oxidizing. Anywhere there was a blemish (or along the cut-line from my knife), they’re turning brown. Is this normal? Should I toss them and start again?

    Thanks for the guidance!

  20. LenaLoo

    I grew up with an olive tree in my front yard… I always wanted to make them edible, but no one knew how… That poor tree (which also had my tree house in it) has long been cut down (I actually cried that day) but I think I might like to go forage some around Carmichael towards December, I am trying to remember if anyone I know has a tree or two…

  21. Colleen

    Ohhhh, yum. I used to work for Graber Olive House and the pleasure of eating those buttery lye-cured olives whenever I wanted is one of the great memories of my life. There’s a house in my neighborhood with a fruiting tree; I should walk over there and see if it isn’t too late to harvest it.

  22. Dana McCauley

    You super smart Californians! I don’t think I can get green olives here in Toronto though I would love to experiment like you do.

  23. Linda

    Hey Hank
    I just bought a bag of green olives from an Italian deli here in Vancouver and will start brining shortly. What kind of container is best?Would a plastic bucket be safe and inert or should I try to find large glass jars. I have some old stoneware Chinese pickled vegetable pots in my garden I could also use but they would require a lot of cleaning inside..
    This is exciting-have been talking about doing this for years. Some recipes call for pickling salt but you used Kosher-aside from texture what is the difference? Is there a risk of botulism if the curing is done incorrectly?

  24. polina

    Thank you for the wonderful and useful post!

    It’s becoming my California tradition too.

    I brine-cured some black olives last year, they did take forever, but they came out very tasty.

    I just picked up a few pounds of green olives in the local park, and I am going to use your water method on them.

    I hope for some black olives later on, but with these early storms that knock them to the ground they may never have a chance to ripen.

  25. Bob

    I get my fresh olives shipped from Penna in Orland, CA – I’ve always done ripe (black) olives, but he sold only green olives this year – hence my search of your site looking for guidance. I do the water method, changing it every day. I was away from home for a week, so for that week I added salt (kosher, enough so a raw egg in shell floats), then switched back to daily water changes when I got back. Today, my olives are ready to cure. I’m going to try: vinegar, garlic, lemons, red bell pepper and oregano. Any other ideas???

  26. Linda

    Hi Hank -Linda again
    So I cut a slit in my green olives and they’ve been soaking in water since Saturday. The slit has turned brown on all of the olives and there are brown spots developing on some of them. Can they still be cured in brine or are they spoiling?
    The only reasons I can come up with for the browning are I cut the slit using a Kuhn Rikon knife (carbon steel blade) and I used tap water. I think I may put half of the batch in a brine now and continue the water leaching with the rest.
    Any ideas?

  27. Holly

    We planted 7 olive trees, 3 are 3 year old and 4 are 1 year old. We tried salt water brining last year on about a pint and they never tasted right. We just picked about 3 times as many black little olives today. Anyone have suggestions for what to try this time?

  28. Jovi

    I put my olives into the water cure 11 days ago and they’re half brown/olive green as well. I’m assuming this is normal and waiting the full 2 weeks to taste one. I agree with Linda though that they start “browning” by the slit first. Is it normal?

  29. Linda

    Hi Hank
    I cured two batches -one using your recipe with kosher salt and one using Maurice Penna’s suggested recipe. I called him and he gave me salt quantities by weight-not volune and I made the recipe using pickling salt (heavier than Kosher salt). It’s been a week now and I tasted both batches – the olives seem a little bitter. Hank I noticed that you changed the water soaking time above from 2 weeks to one month-wondering if I should put them back in water for another 2 weeks or if the brining will pull out the bitterness if I change the brine as you suggest. I didn’t notice a difference in taste kosher vs pickling salt but there is a slight difference in the PH level after a week. I think that the PH will continue to change as the olives cure. I added fennel and bay leaf to the brine and will add dry garlic later.
    I’m hoping to do a batch of black olives soon as well using the brine method.

  30. Linda

    Thanks Hank-
    things are going swimmingly! The brown area from the knife cut has morphed into green – will taste them every week and test PH also. Will also change brine monthly as you suggested. Get the feeling that there are many ways of doing this. Going to do a brine for some black olives as soon as I can get some.This is fun!

  31. Jovi

    Ok, one more question. When doing the brine, should I put all the spices in a cheesecloth or just let them float around with the olives?

  32. Becky

    Last year I tried my first effort of curing black olives. I washed them and placed them in an old stone crock. I simply covered them with layers of sea salt (no water). I found that kosher had little effect. I did not slice the olives. I left them just as I picked them from the tree. I stirred them every couple of weeks, and changed the salt once in three months. After three months I began to sample them every week until I got a flavor I liked. In total it took about four months, after which I dipped them in boiling water and left them to dry over night before placing them in jars of olive oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic and a slice of lemon. They stored nicely in the refrigerator and were absolutely delicious. I just picked a another batch today and have them in the sea salt ready for a their hibernation.

  33. David

    Do you slice the brine cured olives too at the start? Or only the water cure? I’ve seen brining recipes suggesting either way (though seems like the slice reduces the brining time a lot). Thanks!

  34. Dawn

    Hank, you are amazing. I just love the fact that you find things most people take for granted (olive trees) and make something delicious of of them. I am so going to try this! Any olive groves you know of in the Land Park area? I’m too late for green, but maybe black…

  35. Linda

    Hi Hank
    The olive brine is developing a white clumpy residue throughout the jar -concentrated at the top and bottom. Is this just fermentation or is it a bad residue?

  36. Bob

    I am preparing home-cured olives (black & green) for the first time, curing them in brine, then replacing the brine with solution of 1:2 parts vinegar and water (adding garlic, chili, fennel or thyme). I am concerned about botulism, as the jars I am using are not air tight. Advice on this question would be greatly appreciated, as so far I have not found the question addressed anywhere on line.

  37. Bob

    Thanks a bunch, Hank. I suspected that 1:2 might be a bit much vinegar. Do you know what is a good Ph level to maintain in stored olives? Should I test Ph level? If so, what kind of device would you recommend?

  38. Jack

    Hank, I live in Northern CA and travel to Italy fairly often on business. I was a guest at a home in Italy where I was fed some Olives before dinner that the family cured themselves. I do have a few olive trees at my home so this peeked my curiosity and asked for the Recipe. We enjoy the harvest event in October just like you describe, only I am on the ladder and my wife is below drinking the wine, I do get to watch Cal Football (Go Bears!) after, so all is good.

    The recipe I was given was almost identical to what you have written with the exception of white wine vinegar, I’ll try that next year.

    My first year curing was last year, some Olives developed a slimy coating with a bad taste, I threw the whole batch out because you never knew when you would get one. Have you had this experience before?

    I am in my second year curing now with the same recipe and so far they are tasting great, 30 days left. My second question is, after curing, how do you store the olives? Do you use the same brine solution and after filling the jar with olives, do you use the same brine solution in the jar? I am almost to the point of removing from the brine and herb solution, what’s next? I didn’t think far enough ahead to ask them that, plus my Italian is not great. : )

  39. Awake At The Whisk

    Boy howdy! I’ve been looking for this advice. Me and the hubby just planted an olive tree. We can’t wait to cure them (in a few years, of course). 🙂 Thanks for the as-always, excellent advice.

  40. arugulove

    Thank you so much for this post! Back in August, I wanted to brine my own olives. I was looking around on the internet for resources on how to do it, and I was so overwhelmed because it just seemed like a random hodgepodge of information and nothing concise and complete. This has really made my day. I am so excited to be able to do this this year.

  41. Olga

    Hello Hank,
    Your blog was the first I have found with really useful information on olives, which is what I was searching for when I found it but I have learned so much from all you have to say.
    My question is about olives, we have 8 trees that are about 12 years old, they are fabulous to look at and very good producers, all organic and no pests. Last year my mother and husband decided to cure some of them, with very mixed results…ok, they stink. I shudder to even look at them.
    I lived for many years as a teen in Greece with my family and I was the one who had the job of smashing the olives with a brick to break them so my aunt could cure them. That and the harvesting was pretty much my only exposure to the process but having come from a culinary family I have good palate and knew from observing that they were making a few mistakes.
    My mother had met an old Italian gentleman who lives down the street and he “taught” them and I deferred to him. I am sorry we did because the results were not what I think they should have been.
    I noticed that you revised the time frames you used to cure your olives, do you feel that your revised time frames worked well this year?
    Thanks so much for your great article and I hope they keep coming!

  42. John

    Thanks for the inspiration Hank!

    I live in SE Arizona, where olive trees are abundant – one of the desert dwellers that does well here. Most people here find them a nuisance, and so the fruiting branches get cut away and tossed. I, on the other hand, have always thought this was a horrible waste but could never find anyone who knew the process of making them edible.

    I’m very interested in your brine technique. From time to time, I make my own cheeses, so the added time is not a concern – somehow, the wait makes the finished product that much more enjoyable. I was curious, however, if you also need to break, or slice, the olives before placing them in the brine, as you did for the water cure? It would seem to make sense that you would still want to leach the bitter properties from them in this manner, but then I don’t know if salt is somehow a conduit to this process on it’s own.

    I look forward to your reply – and really, thanks – you don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this. I should’ve “Googled” it a long time ago!

  43. tiny

    Could you maybe do the water soaking part by putting them in a plastic mesh bag ( (like for onions) and putting them in the toilet tank? I ‘ve heard of leeching acorns that way.. why not olives? Would it stain the potty?

  44. John

    Thanks, Hank.

    Just in time, too. Half the olive trees around here already have different stages of ripe fruit while many others have large, green fruit. Now I have a chance to try both techniques on different stages of fruit – time to go harvest 🙂

  45. Alex

    Hi Hank,

    Is it OK to add fresh garlic, along with the spices, during the brining process or will the garlic go bad?

  46. Jaime

    Hi there-
    I was wondering how long I can STORE the olives at room temperature (80-85 F) after I’ve gotten them the flavor I want and while they are in a Salt Brine.
    Does Anyone know?
    Thanks. Jaime.

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  48. Kay

    Hank…this is so weird! A few nights ago I had dreamed of curing green olives, an annual undertaking of my Italian family, with us kids smacking the olives with clean milk bottles so they split neatly and were ready for soaking. I dreamed and woke intermittently, each time going back to the dream again and again, and getting bits and pieces of the process but not enough to proceed, except for some of the ingredients like garlic and celery. I had gone to our local produce/gourmet store the day after my dreams and found the green olives!

    Since my oldest brother’s passing a few weeks ago, I had no one to ask, but decided today to do a search on the internet and found you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I now know that 3 days, which I had thought, was not enough to soak, and some other things I had forgotten. I appreciate the information so much… a true remembrance of things past.

  49. Tina

    Hank – I have the same question as Jack. Why are some olives slimy? And do you throw the whole batch out when a few are slimy?


  50. Tina

    Thank you!

  51. Geri

    Thank you for this great article. I live in Arizona and picked a gallon jar of olives about the first week of October. I mixed up the salt brine and have the olives stored on a shelf in the closet. It has been right at a month now and I still haven’t any fermentation going on. At least that I can see. I feel I have the correct measurements of the ingredients. In your article it says to change the brine monthly. Does this sound normal to you? Thanks for your advice.

  52. Denise | Chez Danisse

    Hi Hank,
    Two quick questions.
    1) Did you split your brine-cured olives before curing?
    2) Did you wash your olives before brine-curing (it seems that’s a no, but want to confirm)?

  53. Denise | Chez Danisse

    A couple more things…if you are still checking this post. I know I’m a little late in the game.

    1) I see you cover the jar of brine-curing olives “loosely”. Do you actually seal the jar at some point (after seasoning?) or does it stay unsealed the entire time, until you’ve eaten all of the olives. I have a large glass jar w/ rubber seal. I began brine-curing tonight and just rested the glass lid atop the jar without the rubber seal.

    2) Once you add spices/seasoning (after the New Year) to the brine-cured olives, do you discontinue changing the brine?

    Thanks again!

  54. Flavia

    Hank thanks for your website – I have 20 pounds of olives I purchased water curing. On a different note, I live in So Cal and we have an olive tree in our front yard, it is 50-60 year old tree, we have been unable to harvest because of the olive fly! Do you know of any methods used to get rid of this pest!!

  55. Elaine

    I know this post was over a year ago… but I have a question that might sound silly. With the brining method you mentioned last… you said cover the top of the jar “loosely” I have a jar with a screw on top. Can I just screw on the top? Or should it be looser?

  56. Lisa

    We moved 2 years ago to a property with Olive trees. Last year we did not have fruit, but this year it’s huge so we started to read, and found your blog. I have a few old brining pots so used them and I’m now into the salting stage on the green olives. Now you mentioned the December ripe olives, but I don’t see any recipe for them. I have a small handful that I need to do something with.

  57. Cherylanne

    I have been soaking my 32 pounds of olives for 1 month , it is not Dec 15th. I m so excited this is my first time. we are italian and my stepfather did this years ago and I also wanted to do it so now I am at age 55! I love the process you choose. thank you so much! I hope they come out yummy. Merry Xams!

  58. Schenkk

    Sweet post! The Youtube videos confused me a little.
    We have an Italian cash&carry, in Rochester NY, with 16lb cases of green Sevillano olives for $6. I guess it sounds a little late in the season. They are La Conda brand from California.
    I bought two. Trying (slit) fresh water on one case and brine on the other. Lye scares me a little, though I would consider an ash cure. This is my first attempt(s) so I’ll keep it simple
    I’ve never met an olive I didn’t want to eat. I remember sampling a tiny one off the tree in a Tucson courtyard and wishing I hadn’t.
    Anyway, thanks for the post and years of follow-up.

  59. Dee

    When you change the brine do you put the olives in a clean jar? Or do you rinse out the old jar? Or do you just leave it in the same jar without doing anything?

    Thanks so much!! This post has been so helpful 🙂

  60. Lisa

    Hye I did 1 mo in plain water as directed and now a month in brine with seasoning etc and now they are all mushy. The skin is tough and the inside are falling apart. I started a new batch a month ago in just water, and those seem to be getting mushy also. I have two crocks that I used and there was mold on the top, which I scooped off.

    What did I do wrong?

  61. Chiot's Run

    Thanks so much for this great post. I just ordered 25 lbs of organic olives and was searching for brining/preservation tips. I think I’m going to try 3 different methods from the UC Davis article. Cheers.

  62. Vi Bottaro

    Great article! And very nice photographs! My favorite article of all I’ve found online….
    I live in the wine country and every year, I saw the olives in front of my house and in the nearby wineries go to waste. So this year, I decided to make use of them. I picked them a bit too late, in January. They’ve been in brine and now taste salty but not bitter. So today I am going to put them in olive oil and herbs. Can’t wait to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

  63. Denise | Chez Danisse

    Hello again. I started brine curing some very light green (like your fresh photo) olives in mid-November. The olives are now very very dark green / brownish. You mentioned that your brine cured green olives ended up looking like the lighter cured olives in the photos above. Mine look much more like the darkest. Is this a problem? Anything I should look for that will tell me these olives have gone bad? Thank you in advance for your help. -Denise

  64. Rusty McCann

    I am thinking abiut planting one manzanillo olive tree in mid Alabama. Would one tree produce enough fruit to make it worth my while. Also would Manzanillo be a good choice?

  65. Ed Donovan

    Hi Hank-

    I picked a bunch of green olives last November and started them in the brine cure. The problem is that I had forgotten about them since and just found them. There was quite a bit of mold on top but the brine looked okay. The olives look a but darker than your picture but other than that, okay. I guess I am just asking what, if anything, I should do from here. Would it be safe to rinse and try them?
    Thanks in advance.


  66. Dip a Toe in DIY: Olives | Supertastes

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  67. julia

    hi all, i know this is an old post but i am having no luck finding a place near NYC or online that sells raw, uncured olives. can anyone point me in the right direction?


  68. Faye Langton

    Hello. I was very glad to read your website as I was beginning to wonder if my olives will ever be ready to eat.I live in Sydney, Australia and back in our autumn I bought 5 kilos of large green olives. I have used the brine method because I have previously found that slitting the olives in our climate can have disasterous results. It is now spring and my neighbour who is originally from Sri Lanka, says she likes them, but my family does not. They are fairly firm and still somewhat bitter. I haven’t added any herbs or spices or vinegar yet and they are sitting in just water now. At least I now know it can take this long.

  69. jeanne

    just started looking into curing olives. Have gone thru a few websites and found yours the most informative and detailed. Thank you for sharing your info

  70. Sweet Artichoke

    Just wanted to thank you for the very detailed information on curing olives. I am just back from a trip to Italy and brought 2 kilos of fresh green olives… I am so excited to prepare them following your method and hope they will taste as good as they look!

  71. vicky l.

    two questions about process:
    with the small olives, and i mean small, do they also need to be bruised, or cut before they go into water? do they even go into water for a month or is it straight into the brine?

    and most importantly, i wonder about the larger olives i already have in water: is there any wriggle room about how many days they can sit in this soak, before being changed? what would you recommend, if i find they are still bitter, and i am leaving on holiday, for a week?
    HELP and thanks 🙂

  72. Gayle

    Great blog, Hank. You HAVE to try lye-curing so you can talk about it for us all.
    I am midway through first try at lye-cured olives. An older Italian friend of my sister’s gave us a jar every year. He passed suddenly, and I want to have those buttery olives again. Mmmmmm.
    I was scared of the lye, but followed the directions, used chemical tolerant rubber gloves, and it wasn’t a big deal at all. To my surprise, lye is labeled “drain-cleaner” in hardware stores. Just be sure it’s pure lye.
    After 5 to 8 days of leaching the lye in cold water (changed 2x or 3x a day) I will be ready to brine. UC Davis says you can only keep the olives for two months! It’s hard to believe people go to this much work and must eat all the olives that fast! I see you claim to keep yours up to a year. Think I can do that without refrigeration if kept in a cool place?
    Though my olives are lye cured, adding a little white wine vinegar sounds tasty. Can lye-cured olives be seasoned?

  73. Andrea Wyckoff

    Thanks for the great recipe & advice! I just ordered 20lbs for olives for $39.99 + free shipping. They are also organic!

    I can’t wait to cure them and eat them!

  74. B Gonata

    Just like to tell you that I am living in Greece and just happen to be picking olives today. Every year I cure olives with sea water. And old Aunt of my husband taught me this. So if you are fortune enough to live close by the sea, you can use water from the sea and change it every day just like it says above. You will get a much better olive in the end. Sweet water isn’t as good as salty. I find the olives stay a lot better. Several years back, I had put my olives after curing in a 5 gallon crock. Then we started working on our home. So out into the sun it went. I left them their for three years and to my surprise they were still in great condition. I couldn’t believe my eyes . I didn’t even get that scum on top with this method. So if you don’t feel like putting them up in jars, you can leave them in a old heavy crock and they stay wonderful for years. Hope this helps someone.

  75. B Gonata

    Its called cracking the olive. This is usually done with a rock. You can’t hit it to hard or it will be a mess. This helps the water to get deep into the olive and if done correctly will give a better product in the end. If you cut them you would need to soak much longer than the 14 days it takes. You can always taste the olives and see if they need more curing. I do the small black olives and the calamatas and they work just find. Hitting them with wood is a little more difficult in getting it right. THe olives are best if they are not to ripe. They need to be on the green side still but not under ripe either. There is a difference in color, the unripe has the lime green or spring green color to it. Good luck with your curing.

  76. KenF

    Thanks for this great post.

    I’m trying this for the first time, I bought a couple pounds of green olives and have been soaking them in water for about a week now.

    some of my olives are turning brown in spots, half the olive is brown, the other half still green. or large spots of brown.

    is this an issue? they’re not soft. when the olive turns from the bright green to the darker olive green of your last picture, do they turn consistently across the olive or does it happen in spots?

  77. Double G

    I learned from my Grandpa from Yugoslavia. Lye the olives from 12 to 18 hours depending on size. When putting the lye in he always put 2 big handfuls of ice in the water to keep the heat down which helps keep the green color on the olives. Rinse and stir daily and lightly salt the water each day to complete the curing. I would start trying them about a week after the lye. Keep rinsing and tasting until good to your liking. Less “lye time” makes firmer skin on the olives. I hate mushy olives, i like a slight snap when you bite into them. I use 3/4 cup of lye to one 5 gal bucket. I salt between rinse and put a cup or so in each time. After 2 weeks of rinse and salting I add spice or herbs (GARLIC is best) and jar them up. The final salt brine is to taste and i add a little vinegar.
    My best advise to all is to experiment to get the taste you like. Olives are a family legacy of love and the individual taste you create will make your olives unique to your family. I am proud to keep a family tradition going with a method that my family has always used. My great uncle said any kind of olives are good to use. I perfer Manzanillo as they have a good meat to pit ratio and work well with the lye curing method.
    My question to all is – when do you pick the green olives? How can you tell the green olives are ready? I waited this year until I started to see some start to turn purple then picked all the green ones I wanted. Any advise on timing for picking?
    Great site and great advise!

  78. Steve

    HELP, My batch of water cured olives have been soaking for 10 days now and the slit I cut in them are turning brown!! Is this normal? Is anyone else having this experience..

  79. Steve

    Anybody have experience with olive fly traps?

    I live by an orchard that is not maintained and is infested. I usually get 50% yield from the trees.

    There seems to be many different types of traps out there. Which are the most effective/least expensive?


  80. Samantha

    Thanks for this good information! I just got done curing my olives. Its been a month since I started them. I am canning them tonight. I ordered them from California!

  81. Samantha

    Steve, I put a cup of salt in my olives each day when I change the water out. The salt keeps bateria from growing. That might be the problem.

  82. Trevor

    have done the “plain” water cure for 1 month and now ready to brine.

    how long until the are ready to eat? i am tired of these things staring at me every time i open the fridge…..

  83. Steve

    Hank, My water cured olives been soaking for 24 days and all have darkend ..My question is when you water cure olives are they acually ripening?..because i have no green ones left..yet i see ones on the web that are multiple shades including green.. maybee its just the batch i got but i kinda wanted some green and purple just for appearence …. was wondering if i brine cured some of my green olives would they not ripen (turn black)? then I could mix them with my water cured ones at the end

  84. Home-Cured Olives | Farm Food Blog

    […] How to Cure Green Olives […]

  85. Brined Olives « Pickled Alex

    […] curing it out. And brining is by far the easiest. Well, brining it is! I followed a recipe from the “Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook” blog that involves brining the olives in a solution of 1/4 kosher salt to 4 cups water, plus 1/2 […]

  86. Neil


    This is a bit of an embarrassed question: how long between changes on brine cured olives can one go? My wife and I lost track of a gallon of olives back in a corner of our canning cupboard after the second change, probably a year ago? Toast? Salvageable? Invitation to botulism?

    They still look OK but we haven’t tried them.


  87. Daniel Roloff

    Thanks for the post, I have to try this. I just moved to California from Illinois and have 4 olive trees outside my office. I was wondering if you think pitting the olives prior to the water bath would work?


  88. Daniel Roloff

    Thanks for saving me from that mistake. 😀

  89. Ed Neves

    I have been trying your Brine-curing. I started in October of 2011. It’s now August of 20012 and they are still bitter and hard. I have been changing the brine every month. I keep them in a cool dark place. During this past month I got this horrible looking scum on top of the jar. Blue with white and black streaks, horrible looking stuff. What am I doing wrong.


  90. Darrienne

    I’m married to an old time Italian who grew up curing olives. We just cleaned a friends olive tree this morning and are curing them today. Green. And black. Once he puts them in the brine they stay that way til we open them. Some are 3 years old and are fine. We rinse them ..through away the scum. If they are to salty we rinse again. And again. To taste The black olives we dry on racks and freeze. When company comes we thaw, add olive olive. Fresh basil. Serve with a baguette. yummmmm

  91. Curing olives | much ado about noting

    […] Avoid picking the olives with large scars as this might be an indication of larvae having burrowed into the fruit. Small marks or spots are fine. You can see an example here. […]

  92. burgerdogboy

    I purchase fresh from (PENNA) in N Cal every year. Available now, they go fast. Their website has tips for curing. I do brine for a month and then can them with various herbs/spices.

  93. Daniel Roloff

    Hank, I have a question about olives I was hoping you would be kind enought to answer. I have been waiting for the fruit on the trees outside my work to grow largeenough to pick, now some are turning purple, will water curing work on the green/purple ones or should I brine them instead?

    The Impracticalfishermen

  94. Daniel Roloff

    I have been watching them since they were small little buds in March, a majority are larger than a quarter. Not a lot are purple but more seem to be turning every day. There are ones with the holes on them that are rotted and within the last 2 weeks most have shrunk up like little raisins. But there are still a lot of very nice looking ones are purple already and blemish free. I work on the Naval base in Lemoore and I think our hot climate and frequent watering speeds up the olives out here.

    Thanks for all the help, there is not as much on the internet about the subject of olive curing as I thought there would be.


  95. Megan


    After the first month of changing the water daily, do the olives in the brine have to be kept in the fridge, or will a cool, dark closet do the trick?

    Thanks! Just sliced, submerged, and refrigerated 3 gallons last night!

  96. dennis


  97. Rhonda DiCostanzo

    Hi, I LOVE your blog and your suggestions and my lye-cured olives!! My question is how to store them after the second brining? In olive oil? I would like to avoid this as I love the freshness of the olives without the oil…Do I hot-water bath can them in glass jars? Can I store them in their brine in a crock in the basement? Do they need to be refrigerated? Thank you, Rhonda

  98. Naomi

    Hey there!
    I live in Jerusalem, Israel and have an olive tree in my yard. The olives are nice and big (an inch or so) and are green… then turn black (with purple juice) towards the end of the season and then fall off the tree by the hundreds. This year, I’d like to harvest them. When do you recommend I pick them? Also, these olives, if I pick them when still green, should I use the water-cure method above? And if so, when moving them to brine after the month of water-curing in the fridge, should I put them in the jars I plan to give them away in? Is this the end stage, or do I need to wait with them in brine for some amount of time before eating?

    Thanks so much,

  99. Rhonda DiCostanzo

    While I am at it, I have another question…I have cured 13# of olives. They are so yummy already, I now am ready for the final brining. Your article says now is the time to have fun with the spices…think Mediterranean…can you give me a rough guide of how much to use…for example whole garlic cloves? A cup? two? For 13 pounds of olives….how many peppercorns, a 1/4 cup? Half cup? Bay leaves? 25, 30?, 50? I plan to put a one foot long branch of rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, chili flakes, bay leaves in the brine….any suggestions? I have two gallons of brine for my beautiful olives…

  100. Susan

    Hank: Thank you for the detailed info on curing olives. Quick question: do you make a small cut in the olives when you brine cure them they way you do for water curing them?

  101. Susan

    Hank: Just read your post from 11/30/09 where you answered my question above and recommend not slicing the olives for brine curing. Many thanks. 🙂

  102. Mark Rogers

    Hi, We are in the middle of attempting the water cure for a month. The directions say to start brining when the month is up. How long do we brine before the olives should be edible?

  103. Daniel Roloff

    Watch it on the freash Rosemary, my olives taste like Christmas.

  104. Curing Green Olives (Why I am, and Helpful Links)

    […] This post at doesn’t give a recipe, but does give a lot of helpful information and tips. I have already […]

  105. Gregory R.

    I put about 10lbs Servillano olives, bright green and all larger/medium, into Lye in a 2 gal ginger jar at 6 tbl spoons and a gallon of cold water. Tested them after 18 hours, and they were cured to the pit, but not too soft. I leeched out the Lye by dumping, rinsing, and re-soaking in cold water every morning for 4 more days. On the fifth day, the Lye seemed to be gone, and the leech water was clear for 24 hours. The olives tasted very bland., but they were still firm enough and were a pretty/even green color, somewhat darker than when raw. This turned out to be much easier than I anticipated.

    This morning, I mixed 1 cup of pickling salt and 2 cups white vinegar in one gallon cold water, and returned the whole batch to the ginger jar. I put it on a cool dark shelf in my pantry and will take another look-taste in a week.

    Wish me luck!

  106. Calolea's Blog » Olive Curing techniques

    […] look at water curing olives (at the end of the article), with a good descriptive history of olives. Honest Food How to Cure Green Olives Author and general superstar Hank Shaw’s blog on foraging and curing green […]

  107. Rebecca Thistlethwaite

    Hi Hank- for the water-cure method, once you start the brine, do you put them in the fridge? How many months would you say they should sit in the brine? Also, instead of cutting each olive at first, I poked a fork in each one. They have been changing color rapidly, starting where the pokes were and moving out. They don’t look all that pretty, but maybe they eventually turn a dark/purple brown all over? Is that how they are supposed to look?
    thanks so much for this info!

  108. Fiona Sloyan

    Hi. I have some green olives harvested in Italy that I have been soaking in water, but not regularly rinsing and changing. They have been weighted down with a bit of cheesecloth which is now looking rather disgusting around the edges. I am worried about warnings of botulism. The olives themselves look fine so is this normal and are they likely to be alright?

  109. Janet

    Please help I left the olives in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. I also forgot to change the water every day, but did change it a lot. Then I rinsed them after and just put in the salt,water, vinegar, garlic, coriander water. Is it ok that I rinsed them or will I need a starter? Thank you so much!!!

  110. Junelle Watkins

    I bought some home cured olives cured using Lye and they are soft. What was the problem.

  111. Dhasa Bishop

    Living in Colorado, we don’t have the luxury of picking olives. This year we ordered from Chaffin Family Orchards for fresh green olives, they also offer black olives for salt curing. They shipped in great shape, I highly recommend them if you need to order olives.

    One Question about the water curing method. After water curing for a month, then adding brine, when are they ready to eat?

    Thanks for posting the recipes.

  112. Dan "Dirty Hands" Jensen

    Great Post your so lucky to have them FREE and local.

    Have you tried a cherry pitter? I find it works great on the brined olives i buy to remove the stones.

    Why remove the stones, because i add the olives to a mix of olive oil, garlic, chilli and spices for a few weeks before serving. It takes the edge off the brine.

    great site

  113. Heather

    I’ve got some olives that have been brine curing since fall using your instructions(changing salt brine every 1-2 months).
    I’m finally getting ready to flavor them.
    When you flavor them, I assume you continue to change the brine every 1-2 months until they are to your liking? and if so do you add fresh seasoning each time you change the brine?
    And how do you store the brine cured ones? Once the flavor is how you like it, can you put them in a tightly closed mason jar in the pantry? Or do they need refrigeration as the water cured ones do? (I’m also wondering if I can mail them in a tightly sealed jar to out of town family/friends – or if once I tighten the jar – do I really need to refrigerate straight away?)

  114. Heather

    In case any one else reads through comments and wonders about what I asked March 7, I pulled up the UC Davis info again and these questions are largely answered there.

  115. Lisa Solomon

    I’m an avid mushroom hunter and forager (member of, and I love your stuff.

    I live in the NYC suburbs. My local produce market carries fresh olives for a short time each year, but I’ve never bough them because I didn’t know what to do with them. Next time I see them I’m going to try the brine method – I even have an almost-empty huge jar of marinated artichoke hearts that I’ll keep for this project once I finish the contents.

  116. Brenda

    My large black olives are ready to pick now and I’m going on holidays for two weeks. SO disappointing. If I picked them now, would they be ok to wait in the fridge, unbrined, untouched, until I get back? I brined olives last year and ended up having to get them babysat while I holidayed (slightly embarrassing to do that again). Any advice regarding the shelf life of raw / fresh olives? Much appreciated!
    Brenda in Perth, Western Australia

  117. Brenda

    You reckon? That is GREAT – thank you for your prompt reply!

  118. Rod Coats

    Hi Hank,
    Just discovered your Blog.

    I planted about 20 olive trees down the driveway at my property at Dawesley, South Aust. about 5 years ago. Can’t remember whether they were oil or eating variety or both. Just let them go, with an occasional prune, very little watering. Just got back from overseas and noticed that all the trees are full of fruit for the first time. Tasted one and extremely bitter.

    Any suggestions??

  119. Johnno

    I tried this method a couple of years ago after picking a couple of buckets from wild olives in Hunter Valley, Australia. The olives turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Thought I had lost this page but rediscovered it.

    I finished off with the brine mix + some malted vinegar. Olives are still good after three years.

  120. Mark

    My brine-cured black olives are nearly ready after 4 weeks in brine, changed once at two weeks.

  121. Greg

    I have a batch of green brine cured olives that have taken about 6 weeks so far, two weeks longer than the black batch. From experience green ones take longer so that’s ok, but these also have all sunk to the bottom of the jar. All my other batches have floated. Is there any explanation you can come up with. They don’t seem off, but I am curious/cautious.
    (Up until yesterday about a third we’re floating but I pricked the whole batch with a table fork and now they have all sunk)

  122. kristin

    Hi! I have cured green olives using lye in previous years and wanted to try the water curing method. I live in AZ desert area so olives ripen a little earlier than for you I think. I picked my green olives yesterday morning ~3 gallons worth and spent a couple hours slicing the olive with my paring knife and immediately dropping them into a “coolish” water bath. When I went to change my water today, I see that the olives are all turning brown around the incision. Any guidance for me on this? All olives have stayed fully submerged in water since they were pierced yesterday. When I used the lye curing method all olives stayed a beautiful green so I am a little concerned that I may have some contamination or something. If the browning is normal, that is OK, I was just not really prepared for that and was curious if you have the same results with the area around your piercings. Thanks! Great instructions for this process!

  123. kristin

    Thanks Hank! I am so excited to see what they will turn out like in comparison to the batches I have tried in the past

  124. cathy

    I also live in AZ and our tree`s olives are just now (Mid August)turning from green to dark purple. Am I too late or is it time?

  125. Jim Haubrich

    Go Badgers! I retired to Arizona and want to make olives like my Italian friends do back in WI. I just ordered 10 pounds of olives from Temecula, CA and they will arrive in a few weeks so I want to make sure I process them right away. The way I was taught was to crack open the olives and remove the pit, then soak them for around 3 weeks, changing the water daily. Then drain them and place them in quart canning jars with clean water and several teaspoons of kosher salt. Several weeks later they were ready to eat. We drained them and then sprinkled them with 1t. garlic powder, 1t. oregano, 1/4t. red pepper flakes, and enough salad oil to coat them. This gave them a nice Italian taste. Should I continue to remove the pits or leave them in? Do the pits affect the flavor? Can the olives be shrink wrapped after brining and stored out of the refrigerator? Thanks!!

  126. Neil Koheil

    Hi there, i’m about to cure my first olives and was wondering about storing them once brined. do you recommend separating them into smaller containers and covering with oil or leaving them in the brine?

  127. Neil Koheil

    Thanks Hank. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  128. Starla

    You can buy raw olives from Chaffin Family Farms in Oroville, CA. They are a family farm with beautiful old olive groves, and I believe they ship to anywhere in the continental US.

  129. cory c.

    hank it appears you’re the az-ca-wi connection. I went to Marquette and live in az now. always good to hear of a fellow cheeselander escaping the didn’t really answer the “should I pit them before brining or after question”. I gotta know since it’s pickin’ time here. thanx

  130. Paci Hammond

    Thanks for the instructions on brining. Do I really have to wait until Spring to enjoy them? A few years ago I salt-cured them for about a month; a very earthy layer of flavor around a lot of pit. Olive fruit flies have been a big problem. I have tried Torula yeast tablet lures, and had 36% of my harvest infested. Any suggestions for organic methods.that might improve the yield? I suppose I could just yield to Mother Nature…

  131. This Week in Our Garden :: 9.16.2013 | Sowing by the Sea

    […] many were stricken by the olive fly!, we were able to get a save a good amount, and are trying this process for curing. :: Rogue pumpkins that grew out of compost spread around new plantings, are now making […]

  132. patti

    I just started a batch of green olives and I sliced them and have been soaking them for about a week. The spots where I sliced them are turning brown and they also have brown spots on them. What is that from and should I continue to soak them or are they no good. The last time I did olives I used the dark ones and they were fantastic. Thank for your help.

  133. martha d'ambrosio

    I brined my Barouni olives with salt brine in November last year and opened a jar in April and they were bitter and I let the rest continue to brine. I opened a jar just now in September and they are still bitter. Is there anything I can do? Can I drain the jars and rinse and perhaps re-brine with a saltier mix? or are they a total loss and I have to start over with fresh raw olives again? Not sure what contributed to the bitterness.

  134. Gina

    Thanks for the article.

    Do you need to keep it in refrigeration during the brining process? My Chicago studio space ranges in temps betweek 60-75 in the winter so wondering if I have to keep it in the fridge…a month seems manageable for the first part but as it takes up so much room, wondering if we can ferment at room temp?

  135. AnnaF

    Martha, the same thing happened to me. I used Barounis. It has taken a year. I finally caved in this summer and sliced each olive w/ a knife, and then I changed the brine a couple times. Just jarred them up in a fresh batch of brine and put in the fridge, in late September. My advice is make sure you slice them w/a knife and change the brine every month or so as Hank suggests. I just received another 20# box in the mail and I am going to follow his instructions, religiously this time, and see what happens. Anna

  136. Rick McDaniel

    I just got some olives from a lone tree on Lake Yosemite in Merced, so here I go! 412 olives, to be exact, as I just sliced them individually…

  137. Devine

    I couldn’t tell from the article – at the end of the water cure, you go into brine. Is that the same brine that the olives reside in for the next few months, or does it get changed at some point? Thanks!

  138. How to Cure Green Olives -

    […] different posts on curing olives over the years.  My technique is based on the excellent advice of Hank Shaw; I’ve leaned on his post for the creation of these olives.  His article goes into much more […]

  139. Jenn

    We only had the “Colossal” olives on our ranch this year. Our father, (who passed away years ago), would never cure those. His were the best ever and he always used the lye/then rock salt method. So, we tried to cure them anyway. Just a few hours into the process the skins began to separate from the olives. Dad always said that they turned mushy and that’s why he didn’t bother with Colossals.

    Our green olives were always ready to eat in a month, and the neighbors came from all over with their containers around the first of November to Dad’s for their beloved green olives.

    We’re hoping someone has a recipe out there where you can cure a Colossal Olive that will bring the neighbors around.

    Happy Holidays…..

  140. Tom

    Hank, in your recipe for brine curing, I don’t see any instruction to make a slice into the olive with a knife, before starting the fermentation. Is that the right way? Can you brine cure without slicing them (or smashing them)? Thanks.

  141. Gina

    OK, so have been bathing in water at room temp for a month now. I read it was okay as my studio is super cool on another site and the way the Greeks did it as refridgeration wasn’t around. Anyway, I know you do yours in the fridge but I just don’t have space for it. 30 days, submerged, washed daily. After 15 days they were still really bitter so I just did it for 30…today is the 30 day mark.

    Question: I took a bite and it still has a slight bitterness. However, underlying that there is a bit of a foul taste that I can’t tell if it okay or not. I forgot to wash them three times during the month. I am now doing it twice a day to see if the foul taste goes away. HOW do you know if your olives are “bad” I am concerned I let them bathe too long. The color is a little darker than olives you see at the store. There is only a few that have this little white coating on them in the crevices…have you seen this? Also, none of them are constistent in color, they are darker green and lighter green (not neon like they started)

    So, question is are they still okay with my description of taste and visuals? and if there is still a bitter taste can I start brining? Lastly, what is the worst case, they taste like crap or I die a horrible death from bacteria?

    I am going to start brining now but will check in to see if I should even waste my time…

    Thanks! G

  142. Joseph Morabito

    I enjoyed reading your article. We’ve been curing our own olives for at least ten years. Sometimes they are the greatest things ever, other times they are ‘ho hum’ (I need to settle on a recipe… oh I probably should write it down too).

    A few weeks ago we picked a couple of gallons worth, and today I thought I’d go start another batch. The olive fly problem is horrible this year. I gave up trying to pick after about 40 mins and only got about quart’s worth.

    I basically do a hybrid of the various methods. I soak them in salt water, and change the water every couple of days. I’ve never tried the ‘water only’ method.

  143. Louis

    After treating my olives in clear water I now put them in brine in a dark cool place. Now I noticed that most of them are wrinkled. Can you tell me the reason why please? Many thanks.

  144. Susannah

    Brining olives for the very first time and we were hoping to give as Christmas gifts- even if the recipient has to hold on to the jar a couple of months before opening. Is this reasonable? I’ve done a bit of research and it looks like after the first month (changing water daily) I can put in oil or water and add the herbs, etc, and that’s where they sit it after that? Sorry to be a bit confused- there appear to be a LOT of methods online! I already know which herb combo I want to go with, but would like to do as much as possible to insure they’re tasty!
    thanks much

  145. Melissa W

    Used your method last year and loved the outcome! They were great right of the jar after about 4 months. I changed the brine a few times until they lost most of the bitterness, they were great. I also used the olives in Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Preserved lemon and olive tagine, perfect olive for it. Just bought 13 lbs at Produce Junction today I almost missed them as this is the end of them here at the store. I’m trying the slicing method this year as well, they are in my giant pickle jars in their water bath. THanks for the great advice it was so helpful I came back again this year to get your advice again.

  146. Gina

    YAY My olives are starting to taste like “OLIVES”. I didn’t read the article all the way through for the addition of spices, so 50% of my olives brined for 1 month in just salt and champagne vinegar…the other I used salt, a mixture of regular champagne vinegar and orange champagne vinegar from O brand, clementine peels and bay leaves. I was having a little fruit fly party it seems on the one with the orange peels so took out them for the next “sitting” However, the orange batch one tasted almost done…just a teeeeny bit of bitterness in the bigger ones. The regular salt/vinegar batch was still bitter. I am going to see what happens next month but switching to white wine vinegar as champagne vinegar is expensive, so will do that on the last run. A month ago, I was really skeptical about having done just a room temperature water soak for 30 days (as I didn’t do the fridge) and now I am feeling really good about it!

  147. Joseph Morabito

    I’ve been curing olives for ten years. I’ve had many great batches, and many “also rans.”

    I agree that ten days is NOT enough time. It takes three weeks to a month.

    Hope you had a good year!

  148. bert

    OMG! First time curing olives and I have done the 4 weeks of changing water every day and put olives in salt brine it’s been 3 week and I realized I didn’t add the vinegar can I still salvage all my olives or do I have to toss them out and start over with a new batch.
    Any advise is greatly appreciated.

  149. bert

    Thank you Hank for your quick response. I also noticed that one of the jars has mold:( on top I noticed it wasn’t air tight ,should I add the vinegar now to all of them, should I just remove the mold and add vinegar to this one. What do I do now?

  150. Sam

    Hello hank
    I picked about 2 gallons of olives from a neighbors tree about a week ago didn’t separate them just cleaned and slit them and have been change water everyday I am using regular tap water but today I notice a bubbly foam on top and after cleaning them some sunk down to the bottom of the jar I have been keep them at room temperature Don’t have a large frig to keep them in. should I start over even though it was a lot of work picking and slicing them one by one.

  151. Pete Chrisbacher

    Hello Hank –

    Thanks much for the fresh water cure instructions. I made two different final brines based on your suggestions, and thought I’d pass along the winner (by far):

    Pete’s Brine #2 2013
    1/4 cup kosher salt
    4 cups cool water
    1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
    2 T dried lemon thyme
    1 T dried ramps

    I’d love to hear about others’ favorite brines!


  152. Eric

    Martha>I brined my Barouni olives with salt brine in November last year and opened a jar in April and they were bitter and I let the rest continue to brine. I opened a jar just now in September and they are still bitter.

    Hey Martha – you wrote here that you are brining and capping the jars. I dont think you should cap the jars. Capping puts a halt to the fermentation process as the fermentation gases need to excape. You also give me the impression you are not changing the brine all this time.

  153. mike landon

    This is great! My chef brought in a case of raw olives and told us to go nuts! This will be a great starting point since none of us have ever cured olives. Thanks Hank!

  154. Gina

    Hi, update… left my olives for over a month in the brine as I didn’t want to jar them up. (the last batch was perferct so I thought I would just let them sit) I went to get more to prepare and they are way too soft now. What did I do wrong? How do you stop the process of them doing that? Looks like I will have to start over as the texture is pretty weird. 🙁 Thanks!

  155. Alyssa

    Hi Hank,
    Here’s one for you- I ordered some olives online, which were promptly delivered. They are Castelvetranos, and taste musty. Is this normal? The company says it’s just the brine, and to soak them in water for a few days. I still taste mustiness, though. Have you ever experienced this with your olives?

  156. Amy

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have 4 olive trees at my house and have been trying to figure out what to do with the olives. I have a question though. How bad are spots? My olives did not appear to be affected by the olive fly, but once I started the water soaking most turned spotted. Like little darkish brown spots over most of the olive. The spots haven’t gone away now that the olives are in the brine. They smell good and I have no scum so I am hoping they are still okay. Thanks!

  157. Amy

    Thanks for the quick response! I ate one last night and I didn’t die so I guess they are okay. 🙂 Just not that pretty. I’ll probably end up pulling out the worst of them.

  158. Katie

    Well, I tried your olive technics last year with a shipment of Black Olives, ordered my green olives this year to experiment with. I do have one question, you give 2 technics for the curing the green olive part. In the 1st you water bathe them daily for about a month, in the 2nd you mention brining the smaller olives. Is that from the getgo or after the month of water bath? I really enjoyed the results from the black olive recipes, an fact, have had to hoard the last of them because everyone wants them 🙂 Thank you!

  159. jewel

    I’m thankful to have come upon your site. You have answered a great many of my questions. The olives I purchased only have the tiny dots you mentioned, anything worse I didn’t use. However I’ve been cutting into any suspicious looking olives and found that many have a dark line through the flesh from the dot to the pit and an area along the pit that looks dark and mealy. This is the 4th day of the water soak of the brine cure. Can you help? This is my first time and I don’t know if I should continue or throw them away? Thank you for any help…jewel

  160. jewel

    I guess I should have mentioned that almost all the olives developed spots during the first day of the water soak. Where I cut into the olive was where a dot was that became a spot. The spots are all over them, however. Thanks again, jewel

  161. jewel

    Thank you for answering, Hank! Both the tiny dots and the tan/brownish spots seem to be fairly common from reading the other comments. If the thin, dark line through the flesh and dark area around the pit are caused by olive fly, would the larvae be visible with the naked eye? Grateful for any info, jewel

  162. cksspace

    Hi…I brined my olives using the water/kosher salt method changing weekly. They are coming along nicely. My question is: When should I add the olive oil, white wine vinegar & whatever other “goodies” I desire? Would this be considered a final brine? I would like to give as gifts for Christmas. Thanks for any suggestions or ideas, Carolyn

  163. K R

    I have curing my olives (unk variety) for four weeks in a salt water bath, in glass containers. This is my 3rd year trying this. This year, the olives were a little greener than before, but some had a slight rose blush to them. After the 2nd salt bath change, a ‘scum’ started around the edge of the water that looked like a mold almost…fuzzy but flat. At the next change, I washed the containers and added new salt bath. Same thing. Just tasted one at the 4 wk Mark to see if the bitterness was gone, it was….but….the olive tasted metallic! Tried a second one..same thing. The olives have been in glass containers with another glass container on top to hold the olives under water. They also have not darkened like the previous years. Are they safe to continue with? Kinda scared of killing off family and friends! Thanks for the help.

  164. Mark J. Lewis

    Hi Hank,
    I have an offbeat question for you: For years I have loved Mezzetta Colossal Sicilian Style Olives. My greatest fears have come true: Mezzetta is discontinuing this style of olive.

    I’m desperate to mimic the “juice” in which the olives are bottled. I’m not sure if this is a brine or just a juice into which they put the olives after they are cured. The juice is phenomenal. Mezzetta only says “spices” in the list of contents. It says only vinegar but isn’t specific. I can identify by sight some of the spices…there’s definitely red chile pepper, bay, garlic, fennel, coriander…not sure what else.

    Hank, I’d gladly send you a bottle of these olives if you could lend some expert advice.
    I really want to mimic these olives if I can.


  165. Briar Jansons

    Hi – I’ve done the water cured method followed by brine from your site before, but I misunderstood and brined them in jars for a long time after they were water cured. They were delicious, and I was wondering how long you actually brine them before eating them once they are water cured? Thanks!

  166. David L

    I have started to brine my olives as per a recipe from the ucberkley site. I am 2 weeks through the process and I see brown bloches on the olives. are they suppposed to discolor like that?

  167. Susan Rogers

    I have just completed the lye process on my green olives, I started the brine yesterday and this morning the olives have blisters on them. And they taste a little bitter. My question is did I do something wrong and are they going to be okay to eat?

  168. Softballumpire

    Thanks very much, I had remembered stopping @ a rest stop in Northern Valley and seeing the trees fruited there. Their natural off-the-tree taste was nasty. None of my Rhodale publications contained a brine recipe.

  169. Giovanni Altamura

    ciao, my father has made the olives for many years now its my turn to continue the process, i went 30 days of changing water in the crock pots, using super colossal olives, now add brine to the crock pot and let sit in brine? or brine and jar now? i do remember my dad adding garlic fennel and sea salt to the bare olives and then jarring, but what part of the process is this act? grazie amico

  170. James Collins

    Hi Hank, Olives cured in salt brine for two months seem done. Can I store them in a seasoned water & vinegar solution without salt now? I don’t want them to get more salty flavor.

  171. Emily

    Hank, I have completed the water curing and brining process for green Barouni olives I purchased online from Chaffin Family Orchards. Even after water curing for 30 days and the subsequent transfer to brine, my olives are still very bitter. They also have a very tough texture, not smooth and buttery like the store bought green olives I am used to. Is this just the nature of water cured olives or did I perhaps mess up the process?

    Also, I love the gourmet olives I purchase that come in olive oil with various seasonings. Is there a way to mimick this at home?


  172. Emily

    Okay, I’ll try to be more patient. Thanks!

  173. Karen James

    Are you still curing olives and do you sell them? The only natural cured olives I have found are Graber from California. My cousin used to order them by the case. I love them.

  174. Jane Simian

    For a health reason how could I replace the salt? With potassium or vinegar ?

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