Friday, January 14, 2011

Home-brined Olives (Manzanilla)

One of the primary reasons I moved to California was the fact that I could buy local olives and olive oil (don't tell my family - they think I moved here for them!)

Olives are my favorite food, Ever! I could eat them every day for every meal. I never tire of them. So when I found fresh, raw olives at the farmers' market this fall I scooped them up faster than you could say olive-holic.

These olives happened to be Manzanilla - Spanish in origin and plentiful around California. As you can see, they are small and bright green when raw but after brining they turn the traditional "olive" green. The farmer I bought them from told me he brined them with water, a real old-fashioned way, by placing them in a basket and leaving them to dangle in a local river, a fairly clean one. Since there are no local rivers nearby (and none that are clean enough to dangle olives in) I water-cured mine at home, following the instructions given by Hank from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. I then followed his quick brining instructions.

Suffice to say, I will be buying more than 2 pounds next time I find them at the market and be on the lookout for other varieties!

Home-brined Olives
(based on this recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook)

2 lbs fresh olives

Wash olives and sort out wrinkled olives and discard. Slice each olive from one end to another and place in a jar and cover with water, place clean cloth or cheesecloth on top of jar and refrigerate. Change water once a day for two months.

(2 months later)

4 cups water
1/4 cup salt (kosher, pickling)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar or white vinegar)
2 bay leaves (dried)
1 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

Mix water, salt, bay leaves, black peppercorns and vinegar in large jar and place olives in jar.  Ensure olives are submerged by placing jar or glass on top or cover with cheesecloth and place on counter top and all to ferment at least one week. Move olives to refrigerator and they should keep for at least a year.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Shrimp, Lemon, Herb and Feta Mac and Cheese at The Perfect Pantry
Rosemary Infused Ginger Ale at An Edible Mosaic
African Chicken Peanut Stew at Simply Recipes

1 comment:

Susan said...

Bless you. I purchased fresh green olives at least a month ago from one of these crazy, chaotic farmers' markets that run all year long. I don't know the variety, but I thought to crack them open and brine them.

Thanks for better tips than off the top of my head!