How to make and preserve your own table olives
Which olive varieties are appropriate for your everyday menu
All olive varieties can be prepared as table olives, not only the ones that belong to edible varieties.
How to harvest and separate
We harvest olives in October, the green ones or the black ones too, directly from the tree at the time of harvesting. The olives must be solid and healthy, that is they should not be hit or have a disease or be with rot, because otherwise, once you put them in the water, all olives will rot.
De-acidification (sweetening) of your olives
We put our olives in water, in order to make them sweeter. If you wish, with green olives, we have the option to make three notches on each fruit from top to bottom, before putting them into the water. This will render them sweeter more quickly. You should never proceed likewise with the black olives. You simply put them into the water.
The overall process of de-acidification lasts 8-10 days, but make sure that you change the water every 24 hours.
How to preserve your olives
After de- acidification is completed and your olives are sweetened, place them in a jar of the appropriate size, fill in the jar with water, enough to cover the olives, and add salt, equal to the 15% of the water that you poured. For instance, if you used 10 liters of water, add 1,5 kg of salt. This mixture of water and salt is what we commonly call as “armi” or “almyra” or “salamoura”. Provided that you follow all those steps, and your olives are solid and healthy, they can be preserved for a long period, more than a year.
When the salt has infiltrated the olives adequately, which usually happens about a month later, you may start eating them. You may also season them to your liking, with some fresh olive oil, vinegar, oregano or thyme or garlic or any other herb. Enjoy!
Olives preserved in a jar
In order to have table olives prepared and ready to be eaten at any time, I recommend without hesitation the following well-known recipe: olives preserved in a jar. Once the previous procedure is completed, which means that the olives have been soaked in the mixture of water and salt at least for a month and have been de-acidified, follow the next steps:
Strain the olives from the mixture of water and salt (make sure that you do not use water to wash them off!!) and put them in one or more glass jars, depending of the quantity of the olives. It doesn’t have to be a small jar, it can contain up to 1 or 2 kilos of olives or even more.
As you put the olives in the jar, add every after handful, some grated oregano or savory or dry sticks of thyme. They are all natural conservatives and odorous herbs at he same time. If you feel like it, and you like its taste, you an also add a couple of garlic cloves, however, if you choose to season your olives with garlic, you’d better add oregano alone and not any other herb.
Then, add plain vinegar in the jar, 1/3-high.
Tip: Don’t use more vinegar, as this will render the olives rather sour, unless you are fond of this particular taste.
Then, fill in the jar, top-high, with extra virgin olive oil from the latest year’s harvest, until all the olives are covered. Don’t use seed-oils or old oils stored for years, because your whole effort will go to waste. Seed-oil, on the one hand, gives no taste, as for the old olive oil, it passes its bad odor into the olives.
Finally, place the jar in your kitchen cupboard, and remember to capsize it every once in a while, and shake the olives. Be careful not to open the jar as you move it, and make a mess of your kitchen.
After 15 days or so, your olives are ready to be consumed. I suggest that you eat them with toasted bread, some feta cheese, tomato and the other assortments, and, trust me, you will be licking your fingers.
NOTE: You can also prepare this recipe, “the recipe of the jar”, with olives bought in bulk from any retailer or super-market. This will give them some taste, because, otherwise, they are uneatable, at least to my liking. Try this recipe, and I am looking forward to your comments.