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108 responses to “Curing Olives with Lye”

  1. Robyn Westerman

    By gallon do you mean a US gallon which is 3.78 liters or UK gallon which is 4.54 liters?

  2. Carolyn

    Hank….Hi from New Zealand…..thanks so much for this blog post. We have an olive tree growing outside the gate, and so we picked a heap of olives and tried your lye cure. I’m also a soapmaker, so had NaOH, which made it easier. The olives are great so far – they are in the first brine stage. I’m looking forward to the flavouring part. Wish the olives were bigger – they’re quite small. I think I read somewhere that you can add about 1 cup of vinegar to 5 cups of brine for the final stage so I’ll try that, but any feedback you or your readers have on good vinegar/brine ratios would be a huge help… Thanks again for this post – really found it helpful!

  3. Andy

    Hi Robyn, Hank,

    I’m in Australia, so this is the olive season now. I used about a tablespoon of NaOH/lye (Diggers Caustic Soda 98%) to a litre of water. This seemed to work OK, and I don’t think the exact ratio is that critical.

    I found that 12 hours was not long enough and after checking the cure several times I ended up with about 48 hours. However the room was fairly cold, say 15C or 60F, and that does slow it down. Also the olives are large and maybe not so ripe. I sliced open an olive every 8 hours to check on the penetration of the cure.


  4. Oelof van Rensburg

    I am in the Western Cape South Africa . I tried the lye method two years ago , and after putting in brine , somehow forgot about this bucket full of olives . Well , I ” discovered ” it again a couple of weeks ago , and it has turned into the best best , smooth tasting green olives I have ever tasted . Started harvesting olives yesterday , and have decided to make a large quantity using the lye method . Enjoy !

  5. Marty Cole

    Thanks for the info!! How can you tell the difference between a ripe green olive and an unripe one?

  6. Marty

    Hi, Hank: Thanks for the response on olive ripeness. Here in Las Vegas, I believe it’s time right now, as we have some pretty hot Summer wx. I have a batch rinsing as we write! Blessings to you and yours,.

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