For the last several years I’ve noticed fresh olives appearing across our cities.  They aren’t plentiful but they tend to appear in independent European-based grocery stores.  They sometimes come from overseas but are often shipped from California.

I’ve eaten a homemade olive once – it was in 1995.  Yes, it was that memorable.  A classmate in college pulled a ziploc bag from his backpack, asked if I’d ever had a ‘real’ olive and offered me one.  Although it resembled the olives I’ve grown up with for most of my life, this was a vastly improved experience.  The olive had far more texture and tasted bright and vibrant.

I’ve been intoxicated with the idea of curing them ever since.

I’ve read 40 or 50 different posts on curing olives over the years.  My technique is based on the excellent advice of Hank Shaw; I’ve leaned on his post for the creation of these olives.  His article goes into much more detail than mine and is an excellent read as well.

“Making” Olives isn’t a lot of work – but it requires patience and a bit of dedication.  Fresh olives are as hard as a rock and are incredibly bitter.  They’re not a fun snack at all.

After slicing (some recipes call for ‘smashing’) each olive, you soak the lot in water and have to change it daily for one month. We’re curing 6 pints (just over 6 pounds) of olives in 3 jars.  Once or twice per day, I drain each jar in seconds (I’m using wide-mouthed mason jars) and refill them with water just as fast – the process takes less than 2 minutes.

After a month of switching the water, the olives will be cured in a saltwater brine, with a bit of vinegar and optional spices added.  I’m going to use garlic and a few bay leaves this year and will experiment more in the future.


  • 6.5 pounds of olives
  • Jars that will contain and keep the olives submerged
  • Brine (make as much as you need in the following ratio:
    • 0.25 cup kosher salt
    • 4 cups water
    • 0.5 cups vinegar (white wine vinegar is my preference)
    • Spices: I’ll use 5 bay leaves and 10 cloves garlic


  1.  Slit the olives on one side using a pairing knife.
  2. Immediately place them in water (this will help prevent browning).
  3. Once the olives are slit, fill jars with them, cover in water and keep all olives submerged (I overfill the jar with water and place a lid loosely on top).
  4. Drain the olives and replace the water daily for 28-30 days.
  5. Replace water with brine (if you’re using multiple jars, split the spices equally).
  6. Store in fridge and enjoy for a year or more (but they likely won’t last that long!)

I can hardly wait to dive into these!

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