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Basics of Olives Pickling | How to Pickle Olives

Author Zizzur Staff. Published on July 16, 2011 - 2:52 am (537 views — 382 words)

Olives that are picked from the tree have a bitter sour taste that makes this fruit inedible. No matter if it is unripe or in its ripe form, this fruit has a bitter taste that is quite hard to tolerate. This is why pickling or curing olives is a process that all olives must go through before it is packed and sold. Olives pickling is a process that can be done at your own home, but it is one that requires a waiting period.

Olives pickling was first discovered by the ancient Greeks. This method dates as far as the start of the civilization of man, which is why olives pickling is considered as one of man’s first major achievements. The history of this process is unclear due to lack of evidence, people can only speculate how or why the Greeks mixed salt with this fruit and left it to ferment. No matter how this process came about, it is still one that is widely used until today. As years passed, more efficient methods have been developed, but the original dry curing method is still the most sought after method by enthusiasts.

There are many ways of olives pickling, but generally this process involves mixing olives with a curing agent such as salt, brine, lye or oil and they are left to ferment for a designated number of weeks or months. In this process, the fresh olives release their bitter taste which is then replaced with the salty taste from the curing agents. This is why the olives we consume at the dinner table are salty with a hint of bitterness.

Nowadays, olives are complemented with the desired curing method; this depends on the desired outcome of the curer. Even though the new curing methods prove to be more efficient, many growers prefer the age old process of dry curing for certain olive varieties such as the Greek Kalamata and the Spanish Gaeta. It is by far the simplest curing method but is one that allows olives to develop their true flavors. Even if a good number of olives are lost due to rotting, this process is still widely used because of the quality of olives they produce. Consequently, dry cured olives are more expensive than brine cured or lye cured ones.