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28 responses to “How to Make Oil-Cured Olives”

  1. Michael Condon

    I oil cured some a couple years ago. I used a brine rather than dry salt. I refreshed the brine every two days. I will have to give the dry salt method a try. Seems simpler. Picking in Spring also sounds like a good idea. Everything happens at once in the fall/winter.


  2. Trent

    Oil cured olives. To me, the words act like the ringing of the bell did for Pavlov’s dogs. The best commercially available olives cured this way that I’ve had were from Morocco, but I’ve purchased some at the local co-op that came from who knows where that were absolute crap. A faculty member in my dept. went to CA last spring and picked some black olives to cure, and they were the best I’ve had. Thanks for putting your recipe/methods down on paper. I need to do this, and I appreciate the inspiration.

  3. Crystal

    Your green olive posts are what endeared me to your writing, and since then I’ve dreamed of living somewhere where I could pick and cure my own olives (soon, I hope).

    I’m now looking forward to black olives too.

    Thank you!

  4. Alectorix

    Buena receta, yo vivo rodeado de olivos.
    Saludos desde Jaén.

  5. Kevin

    Saw some olive trees at the local big-box home-improvment store the other day that were rated for zone 8. Too bad I don’t have a spot for them. (Damn you, you ~75 y.o. pecan tree).

  6. Bill

    I did some lye-cured olives back in my college days and the end product was delicious. I’d love to do it again, but guess what? Lye isn’t as easy to find as it once was. I think I used a bottle of DRANO to do the trick…

  7. Paula

    I got turned on to oil-cured olives in high school when I followed a buddy of Italian extraction home and her nonni gave us bread and oil-cured olives for an after school snack. I’ve been a fan since then and we won’t talk about how long ago that was.

    Bill May should know that food-grade lye can be had from; it where my husband gets his for his soft pretzel making.

  8. Jeff @ Cheeseburger

    Excellent guide on making oil-cured olives. I’ve always wanted to try this but never had the time nor the knowledge.

  9. Daniel Roloff

    Another reason I am glad Ifound your site, I gotta try this next spring. NAS Lemoore has 9 trees I know of and I will plunder them this year. 😀

    Keep doing what you do.

  10. prasanna

    i have waste my black olives 4 last few years ,try too many ways,yours seems to be very easy ,hope it works on my black olives

  11. The Great Olive Experiment | Home Produce by Simon

    […] Batch #4: Hunter Angler Gardner Cook’s Oil Cured Olives […]

  12. Rose White

    I have an old family recipe that calls for boiling the olives for 5 minutes before allowing the olives to cool to lukewarm and then oil curing them. Here in Wisconsin, we don’t have olive trees. Any idea where I would purchase the fresh olives?

  13. dave

    Rose in Wisconsin, I think you are out of luck on ‘purchasing’ fresh olives. We were just in California and saw some olive trees with ripe luscious black olives and asked the owner if we could pick some. They were more than happy to not let them hit the ground, so in about a half hour we had 10-ish pounds and they are sitting in cloth grocery bags with salt right now. Your best bet is to locate a friend of a friend and have them mail you some, maybe, but the black ones we picked were so soft and ripe I doubt they would ship well….
    we and our friends in Moab will soon be enjoying home cured olives!

  14. luke

    Can I use course sea salt? I happen to have a bunch of it.

  15. luke

    My compania has showed me that I have spelled coarse, as course. Anyways I am in a far away place for me, learning a different language. It is sale grosso, and usually people put it in pasta water. I looked up coarse salt, and came upon kosher salt, with references to pickling salt, and before I did that the olives were already hanging in the shed. Thanks for the precision articles, recipes, and the great writing. Whenever I come to look for a recipe I often get distracted by the drooling over of new and delicious things.

  16. chieko ann

    I just dry cured some colossal ripe, end of season Sevillano olives. Amazing! Mine were ready at a month. I put them in a gigantic non-reactive colander after totally covering them with salt. This was placed over a plastic tub to catch the drippings and covered with a towel. I don’t have any place outside to hang them so I made do. I did 10 lbs. Next year I’ll invest in some more and make a HUGE batch! I’ve done green and ripe in brine but I think I’ll stick to the dry salt cure. I’ve also experimented with using baking soda on the green to get rid of the acid that causes the bitterness. Did it with a small batch and I feel there’s promise for that method. Too bad one can’t get fresh olives all year! My house would become an olive processing plant! Lol!

  17. chieko ann

    @Rose White…you can order olives from Penna when they’re in season.

    I was able to get 10lbs with shipping for $30. Very reasonable. Start checking their website in mid-Oct for green. Those ripen up and then you can get the ripe in Nov.

  18. Ed

    My dry cured olives are very salty even after boiling them for a minute. Is there any way to get rid of some of the excess saltiness? Can I store them in water or in vinegar?

  19. Lauren

    Just finished my olives and I love them but everyone who tries one says there isn’t much meat on the stone (pit). Is that just the reaction to all the salt? Once the olives are re-covered with salt for storage, should they be put in the refrigerator or just in a dry place?

  20. Jen chimenti-nelson

    My folks leave theirs in the pantry, but I put mine in the fridge and let them come to room temp, just like cheese, before eating. Also, In Italy, a lot of times people will dress them with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, hot peperoncino, and maybe an herb, such as fennel or fennel pollen, or dried oregano, or fresh rosemary, etc. And always a hunk of really good Parmesan!

  21. sandra

    I have had a look at everyone’s ideas and comments. In Hawkes Bay, NZ we are known as fruit bowl country there isn’t a lot here that we can’t grow in the way of fruit and veg. I have my own olive tree and this is my first year giving cured olives a go, I have chosen to go with the pillow case idea, when I bought the tree I had no idea that you even have to cure olives, only had to try one straight off the tree. The pillow case is now hanging out side looking forward to seeing the results.

  22. Olive Hut

    Very helpful dried oil method! I work at The Olive Hut in Tehama County CA. We have so many local fresh olives/processed stuffed olives available. We are in the process of now curing our own version of the “dried Greek olives” Again very helpful, thank you:)

    BTW, If anyone has trouble finding fresh olives for home cure, we at the Olive Hut are able to ship fresh green or black olives anywhere in the United States.

  23. Roger

    These salt cured olives packed in olive oil will last for at least a year if stored in a cool place out of sunlight. No need to refrigerate either. More recipes for fresh olives

  24. ken bynum

    our local imam is from morocco, he told me of the salt cure, but not the lye cure, I just planted two trees, I figure that’ll be enough for me, are the olives pressed or what to get the oil?

  25. Frank Balestrieri

    About ten years ago, a wealthy landowner living on 500+ acre property below us planted seven acres of olive tree slips in a meadow just off the road leading up to our house. At the time, the trees were only about 24 inches tall. They grew for the next three years as a drip system was installed to water them. Soon after, however, the landowner sold his property, and the new corporate landowner decided he didn’t like the little olive trees there. He decided to rip out the now 3-4 feet tall olive trees. My wife and I drove by the property one Friday November afternoon on our way home from work, and witnessed a man in a tractor digging up all the trees! I pulled over, waved the man down and asked him why he was pulling out the olive trees. As I mentioned before, his boss didn’t like them. I asked him if I could have some of them. He called the landowner, and asked if I could take some of the newly ripped out trees. He finished his conversation with the landowner, then told me he was stopping for the weekend, but said I could have as many as I wanted, but had to finish taking the trees by Sunday as the remaining trees would be ripped out, hauled away and destroyed. I immediately jumped into action!

    I called a landscaper friend of mine who gave me 125 black heavy duty plastic 5 gallon planting pots. I called my two grown sons to come over and give me a hand, and in one day, we dug up and placed 90 trees into those pots. I put all of the trees in a location where I could tend them, gave each a shot of vitamin B-1 for root shock, water, and Miracle Gro because I was thinking it was going to be a miracle if those trees could withstand the beating they took! One year later, 87 of the 90 trees survived and took root in the pots.

    The trees have been in the ground now for a little over six years, and for the first time, produced about 30 lbs. of round, marble-sized olives. I don’t know what variety they are. I didn’t have enough olives to pay a local winery and olive orchardist to mash the olives into olive oil with their huge granite wheels, but certainly had enough to make your lye-cured and oil-cured olives following your recipes. You are right–they are like Lay’s Potato Chips–you can’t eat just one! Thanks for the recipes!

    –Frank Balestrieri

  26. WILL Delito

    I’ve done green and black olives for 20 yrs. here in CT. I’ve learned my techniques from my wine/capocollo, mentor That grew up on a farm in Italy. With the green we make a brine of enough salt to float 2 eggs( just in-case one egg is bad), add 1 gallon of white vinegar, 24 garlic cloves, 24 hot peppers. Keeping all the olives submerged with a wreath of fresh fennel ferns, wait 6 months. When ready I remove the seasonings and store in sealed 5 gal. bucket on concrete basement floor( stays 60 to 58 degrees)next to my wine.
    On ripe black olives I use 2 5 gallon buckets inner one has holes in it and holds the salted olives.I wash, pierce holes in olives with a toothpick, layer in holed bucket with abundant kosher salt. Toss the olives around in the bucket every 2 days with more salt for about 2.5 weeks, poking holes in the olives speeds the curing. When they are done to your liking wash salt off and let air dry for a day. save what you want in olive oil with any seasoning you might like. Garlic hot pepper flakes, rosemary,citrus, what ever. Experiment with different small batches, keep notes. Put the rest on a cookie sheet and freeze. The next day put frozen olives in zip-lock , store in the freezer. You can fry or grill to defrost and store in olive oil mix of your liking. ENJOY

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