Olives

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Olives

Postby NCPaul » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:36 pm

Now is a good time to get your olives curing if you've been waiting for the California crop (which is quite small this year). The best instructions I have found are here:
http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8267.pdf
Here are 5 pounds of Sevillanos with a handful with blemishes removed:

Image

You can see where I order from in the photo above. Last year I lye cured 5 pounds of Lucques olives and while to taste was very good (very buttery), I thought the texture could be firmer. This year I am brine curing the olives. For the Sevillanos I prepared a medium brine by dissolving 10 ounces of Kosher salt in a gallon of water and 2 cups of white vinegar. The brine cure should take 2 to 4 months and I may change out a portion of the brine partway through the process. Here is one more photo with the olives in the brine with a bowl on top of them to keep them submerged.

Image

I hope that when they are ready I'll have some dry cured meat to eat with them or I'll have to drown them in gin. :D
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Postby grisell » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:36 pm

:shock: That's a lot of dry martinins! :lol:

I've seen fresh olives for sale only once here for the last twenty years. I bought one kilo and brined them. They were delicious.
André

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Postby grisell » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:08 am

Actually, olives would be possible to freeze fresh and distribute as deep frozen. (?) :? Anyone seen this?
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Postby solaryellow » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:00 am

I hope my wife doesn't see this. Do you leave the pits in Paul? Ever stuffed them with anything like jalapenos or blue cheese?
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Postby NCPaul » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:40 am

I have never seen raw olives offered frozen and fresh they are very uncommon. I had to mail order these but even with shipping, they work out to about half price. People have forgotten how to do this and don't have the patience for it. The document I referenced suggests brining the olives before pitting them (they are rock hard before curing). I haven't tried stuffing the olives; I'm afraid I would eat them as quickly as I could pit and stuff them. :D
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:18 pm

Using sodium hydroxide (lye/NaOH) speeds up the process and is more effective in removing the bitterness. Removing the pit in advance will make them taste stale. If you brine them, drain and expose them to the air, you can make dark olives.
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Massimo
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Postby Reeder » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:23 pm

What website did you get these from?
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:57 pm

When I was living in Italy, this was common knowledge. If you want the exact recipe, I can try to retrieve it. I haven't made brined olives in 14 years.
Let me know.
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Massimo
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Postby NCPaul » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:36 pm

Reeder, the web site is www.greatolives.com, but I think the season might be over.

Massimo, the brine is getting darker (presumably from the oleuropein leaching out), should I refresh my original brine to hasten this or just leave it be? I don't expect to be able to eat these until next year.
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:52 pm

OK. My mom (80 years old this year) refreshed my memory. Here is the real deal. First and foremost the use of lye is instrumental in hydrolizing the oleorupin -the superbitter stuff- a process that takes forever in the brine.
NaOH is a potentially hazardous chemical, though, in that it may cause severe burns. Anyone who is sloppy should use the salt-only methods and be patient.
1) completely submerge all olives into a 2% NaOH solution in water (ie 20 grams of food-grade NaOH in 1 liter of water)
2) leave olives in lye for 8-24 hours. The exact time depends on your olives and your room temperature. The lye starts penetrating the flesh causing a change in colour. When colour change has reached halfway between the skin and the pit, discard the lye solution and THOROUGHLY rinse your olives.
3) olives are now ready for the brine. For every 1Kg of olives use 1 liter of water of and 80 grams of sea salt. Add your favorite herbs (hot chiles, garlic, pepper, fennel seeds, bay leaves ... whatever. I didn't use garlic as it imparted a stale aftertaste). They will be ready in ONE MONTH. Brine will be cloudy and will have some fizz because of lactic acid bacteria. You can discard the original brine and replace it with clear one if cloudiness bothers you.
4) If you want dark olives, when you are done with lye and thorough rinsing, drain them and expose to air for 3-10 days until their taste suits you. Don't pile them up. Eventually, they'll shrink: it's good, it's what they are supposed to do. Liberally sprinkle sea salt on them and store them under vacuum. If you don't use preservatives, after a few weeks you'll see ... stuff growing on them. They'll still taste great but ... I mean .. you know ... I never figured out what "The Stuff" was.
Paul, don't worry about anything getting dark: it is just oxydization.
Regards
Massimo

PS If you overdo with lye, olives will turn mushy. Corrected as per Mitchamus suggestion on NaOH/lye.
Last edited by Massimo Maddaloni on Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby grisell » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:24 pm

Great, Massimo! :D Now all I need is olives... :(

Do you have a recipe for pickled capers (buds, berries, leaves) too? I'm serious now. I have a caper bush that I hope will bloom next Summer.
André

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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:43 pm

Hi Andre', I am sorry but I don't know how to pickle capers.
Regards.
Massimo
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Postby grisell » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:02 pm

Ok. Thanks anyway. :)

Anyone else?
André

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Postby mitchamus » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:42 am

Does anyone know how strong the Lye needs to be?

if I got my own powdered sodium hydroxide...
what percentage should the lye solution be?

and measured by by volume? or weight?
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Postby NCPaul » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:41 am

Andre, I would pickle the capers in a 3 / 1 mixture of white vinegar to water (I use this for canning peppers).

Mitchamus, when I lye treated the olives last year I used 2 ounces of lye in a gallon of water. This is only slightly more dilute than the 2 % by weight recommended by Massimo; I think either would be fine. After lye treatment, the olives will have to go through several changes of water. The document I linked at the top of this thread has detailed instructions. :D
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