A couple weekends ago I was at my local market and a bag of raw olives just jumped into my basket. Besides that, I have really no explanation for how I managed to bring home ten pounds of Sevillano Olives without the faintest idea of what to do with them.
But here they were in my kitchen, wrapped in a mesh bag all the way from California, and so after about eight days of that I realized – I have to get going on these before they shrivel and become unusable, and so at the end of last week (right before the start of meditation retreat) I got down to processing them.
This extension office hand-out is the best thing I found, by far, on the many ways to cure olives. (I personally think the Extension Offices in the United States are pretty much the best thing about that country and I don’t understand why Canada doesn’t have something similar.)
Although I am super-curious about lye-curing olives, I didn’t have any lye on hand, nor did I have time to stop at the Homesteader’s Emporium to get some. Instead, I opted to try them two different ways – Brine Ferment, and Water Cured. Because ten pounds of olives translates into 2 gallons of processed olives, I’ve got two jars of each, and I’ve done each jar differently. The brine-ferment jars are spiced – one with pickling spice, and the other with peppercorns and chilis. I plan to spice the water-cured ones differently as well, but I also processed them in two different ways – cut, and cracked. I figure that since this might be the one and only time I get my hands on raw olives (I’ve never seen them in a store here before) – I might as well experiment and see what turns out the most edible.
At the moment, I’ve got them lined up on the counter, mostly so I can keep an eye on the brine-fermenters, and so that I don’t forget to change the water on the water-cured ones every day for the next couple of weeks. I’m notoriously bad about starting fermented projects and then leaving them to dry out or mould – which is basically why I ended up with no sauerkraut this year. (It fermented super fast because of the heat and then turned to mush pretty much just as fast.)
Anyhow, these definitely require some attention, so I’m leaving them where I can see them.