Olives in brine and mould

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Olives in brine and mould

Postby numnutz » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:45 pm

HI - I like olives, the ones available in brine, stuffed or unstuffed. But when the jar is opened within a week or so I get a layer of mould forming on the top of the brine.

A professional chef told me to just to spoon it off when using the olives, but I would like to avoid the problem completely. I have tried storing the jars in the 'fridge with no difference.

The only solution I have found so far is to wash the olives and store in olive oil. I don't like the taste of them when I do this and the olives go rather soft.

Any suggestions?

nn :)
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Postby wheels » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:26 pm

Float a layer of oil on top of the brine maybe?

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Postby grisell » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:33 pm

Olives can be frozen with good result IMO. I like Phil's suggestion too. Remember to use clean utensils when taking from the jar.
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:45 pm

If it is an odorless, white film alike what you may find on pickles, you can spoon it out and eat the olives. IF.
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Postby Snags » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:08 am

We always had the mould sitting on top as a lid,its normal.
Our olives always stayed in the cupboard.
Ate them that way for nearly 50 years and Im still alive.
Mum would always take out a small portion we would eat for the week and soak in fresh water to remove excess salt and harden them up. Before putting them in a container in the fridge,I do the same now.
She should know after 80 years and watching her mum and grandma do the same.
yet to take the plunge still researching
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Postby wheels » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:48 pm

Well you can't say better than that. :D :D :D

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Postby grisell » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:55 pm

I haven't found any info on this but as a general advice, mouldy food should be discarded.
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Postby grisell » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:20 pm

I use to buy large cans of tomato paste when they are on discount. After opening, and transferring to a glass jar, they usually get mould within a month or so in the refrigerator. Therefore, I mix in 1/4 tsp sodium benzoate and ½ tsp citric acid per kg paste from the start (benzoate works best in an acid environment). Then the paste will keep for at least a year.

I use this additive for store-bought harissa paste, homemade ketchup and fresh homemade chilipaste as well. No deterioration for one year and more, and no funny taste. It would probably work with olives too.

Preservatives can be great sometimes! :wink:
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:14 pm

Sodium benzoate undergoes metabolic transformations forming benzene a known carcinogen.
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Postby grisell » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:29 pm

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_benzoate (with a reference to a survey from 2006 by US FDA http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Food ... 055815.htm):

In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption.

Everything is a compromise. This is a compromise between the possible dangers of mycotoxins from the mould and the dangers of benzoate. The same thing is true with nitrite: it is a compromise between the danger of nitrosamines and the danger of botulism.
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Re: Olives in brine and mould

Postby grisell » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:18 pm

numnutz wrote:HI - I like olives, the ones available in brine, stuffed or unstuffed. But when the jar is opened within a week or so I get a layer of mould forming on the top of the brine.
[---]
Any suggestions?

nn :)


Back to the original question:

I think (I'd better highlight that in order not to exasperate people) that the most probable reason why there is mould forming so soon (one week? :shock: ) is poor hygiene. If one always uses a clean spoon when taking from the jar, the olives will stay fine for several months in the refrigerator. However, if you dip your fingers or a dirty spoon just once into the jar, you will possibly have mould within a week. My motivation for the theory is that my parents always pick olives from the jar with their fingers, and the olives go bad within a few weeks. I, on the other hand, always use clean utensils on my olives, and they keep for months.

Please don't take this the wrong way, numnutz, I'm not saying that you are filthy, but is there a possibility that you don't always use clean utensils? I'm asking since this is a common mistake. Maybe someone in your family sneaks into the kitchen at night and grabs a few olives? :wink: :lol:
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:37 am

grisell wrote:From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_benzoate (with a reference to a survey from 2006 by US FDA ... In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption.

Everything is a compromise. This is a compromise between the possible dangers of mycotoxins from the mould and the dangers of benzoate. The same thing is true with nitrite: it is a compromise between the danger of nitrosamines and the danger of botulism.


Yeah, Andre', but I don't see the point of buying a 55 gallon tomato sauce drum and preserve it with benzoate as opposed to buy smaller sizes. I cannot understand how you can state that "benzoate is great". I know that you are an excellent and dedicated cook, and you utterly impressed me when I mentioned mountain ash berries and you ... zac! pulled out pictures of a rowan sherbet! In this case you are wrong, though.
Besides, FDA in my opinion is a criminal organization paid with the money of the companies the products of which FDA is supposed to evaluate. There are at least 3 class actions (that I know of) of people who suffered serious consequences because of medications. The ground of the class actions is that FDA declared such medicines to be toxic. WHAT THE BLEEEEP?! FDA approved them in the first place!! Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes in 30% of repeated users and it was FDA-approved. So what FDA says counts squat in my book.
Massimo
Last edited by Massimo Maddaloni on Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby salumi512 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:55 am

I've been watching this thread with some confusion. I have brined olives in the fridge that keep for 6 months. What gives?
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Postby grisell » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:09 am

Ok, Massimo, maybe "great" was an exaggeration. :) The point of buying larger amounts at one time is purely economical. I use quite a lot of tomato paste, so the yearly cost is not negligible.
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Postby saucisson » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:15 pm

salumi512 wrote:I've been watching this thread with some confusion. I have brined olives in the fridge that keep for 6 months. What gives?


It may depend on the strength of the brine, some shop bought olives are in such a weak brine you wonder why they bothered. I was interested to see some have olives that they soak in water before eating them.
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