It's olive season and here in the Barossa there are plenty of olive trees to pick from. I pick mine from the same secret location each year. They are big and plentiful and so easy to pickle.
In years past I tried to pickle olives but the disposal of buckets full of salt water every couple of days was a big problem. Where to tip it without it getting it into the soil, drains, and waterways?
I gave up on pickling olives.
A few years later I found another recipe that is so quick and easy. The jars last for years, we're currently eating some that I pickled in May 2011. I think they actually improve over time.
You will need;
A bucket (or 2, depending on how many olives you're going to pickle) to soak the olives in.
Some clean jars with screw top lids.
Fresh garlic, lemon, fennel seeds, chilli or which ever flavors you want in your olives.
A big saucepan to make the brine.
Put olives into a plastic (food grade) bucket and cover with rain water. I use both green and black olives all mixed in together as this is how they come when we pick them.
Stir them around a little with your hand and leave them soak.
Change the water every day for 3 days.
On the 4th day when you're ready to put the olives into jars, make a 10% brine. (To 1 litre of boiling water add 100g of salt) Allow to cool for 5 minutes before using.
Drain the olives and put into clean glass jars, adding a couple of slices of garlic, a few fennel seeds, a piece of chilli, a thin slice of lemon, or none of these if you prefer.
Cover with the hot brine, and screw on the lids.
Write the date on the jars and store in a dark place for 6 months.
They ferment in the jars and sometimes ooze so I suggest you sit the jars in a plastic container to catch the spills.
Taste after 6 months. Sometimes they need longer. Keep in fridge after opening.
Play around with the flavours and wait to see the end result in a few months time. Then you can adjust the following year.
We have planted a few varieties of olive trees here and look forward to crops in the future. I love the trees and wouldn't really care if they give us olives or not.
Half the fun is in the searching for your olives and picking them just at the right time.
Do you pickle olives?
Do you have another recipe to share?
What things do you make from your pickled olives?