I had an epiphany this week.
If I want to preserve some wild olives I don’t have to do 100kg of the things. I can just do a couple of jars. And once I’ve done them, if there are still roadside olives around, and I feel so inclined, I can do a few more. And still a few more two weeks later if I am driving by a tree and have a spare 15 minutes for picking.
This has been sooo liberating. I seriously haven’t made olives in brine for about ten years because the idea of spending a day picking them and preserving them has done my head in . And there are plenty of great local olive producers here anyway so the need has not been great. But no longer.
Some lovely ladies on Instagram gave me their olive pickling recipes and the following one hails from @sarasrking It was brought out to Australia by her family and is her zio Nino’s from Liguria. She says it works particularly well with the feral olives we seem to have in abundance around here.
Zio Nino’s wild olives
Soak olives in fresh water changing daily
Do this for 7 – 10 days
Make a hot brine, using enough salt to float a potato in (add and dissolve salt as you go until it floats)
Steep some bay leaves, parsley, oregano, marjoram leaves in the brine and remove
Combine the brine and olives and then fill and seal your jars
Taste test them around Christmas, if they are still bitter leave them for another few weeks and try again. If they are too salty soak them in water for a bit before serving.
And to quote Sara, ‘Buon lavoro!’
Please note I have not personally tasted the end result of this method but I figure after generations of people using it, it has got to be pretty good right?
Enjoy! X Ilona