November 21, 2009
Salt- Cured Olives
The olive harvest began a little early this year, at the end of October, many people wait till November 3- something about numbers. When the olives are harvested for oil, some of them are still green, giving the oil here a peppery flavor.
As we get farther into the season the olives ripen to black and that is when I start to check out the trees near my house. This year, we have new neighbors who harvest what was an abbandoned olive grove below my house, so this year I had to buy my olives to cure.
I bought my olives from Francesca, this year I got 2 kilo's, when I see everyone is done with the harvest around me, will go and gather what's left on the trees and make more.
I learned several techniques from the vendors in the San Lorenzo- Mercato Centrale on olives, many of which are cured using caustic soda, did that once and not worth the trouble.The other classic techinique is a salt-water brine, which takes a long time and also gives you an olive you can buy in a store.
What truly caught my fancy was the "dry" salt cure. I adore it and more important my husband loves these olives. Since they are hard to find in shops, it makes them even more precious.
Tuscan Salt- Cured Olives
I layer the ripe black olives in a jar- with coarse sea salt,without additives.
The salt draws out the bitter liquids in the olives which you drain off daily.
When the olives stop giving off liquid they are ready.
It all depends on their size.
Rinse the olives off, removing all the salt.
Dry lightly and then drizzle with olive oil.
This "seals" the olives and prevents them from getting mold.
At this time, if you like, you can also flavor the olives.
Some typical additions would be:
chili pepper flakes
I like to add lemon zest.
It doesn't get any simpler or better than that!
If you don't have sea salt that is inexpensive where you live, use Kosher Salt.
Sea salt here for kitchen use is 60 euro-cents a kilo- 2.2 pounds.
Keep them in a dark place, you don't need to refrigerate.