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How to Cure Olives | Different Approaches to Curing Olives

Author Zizzur Staff. Published on July 16, 2011 - 2:56 am (654 views — 390 words)

A freshly picked olive is too sour and bitter to be eaten. You can eat the fruit if you're willing to have an unpleasant bitter experience that you can't forget. This is the very reason olives are cured, the curing process takes out the bitter taste and replaces it with the salty taste we are familiar with. Even before the bible was written, curing olives have been a household practice. "Dry curing" was done by the ancient Greeks, this involved dousing the olives with sea salt and fermenting it for a couple of weeks. As years passed, growers found new and more efficient ways to cure olives. Today there are quite a few different methods of curing olives, each with its advantages, these methods are: dry curing, brine curing, water curing, lye curing and oil curing. Usually, it's the type of olive that determines what curing process should be used. For example, The Greek Kalamata achieves the best results when it is dry-cured.

Curing olives is a simple task, but it is one that entails a lengthy waiting time. This allows the flavors of the brine to infuse the olive and reduce its bitter taste. All growers have their own recipe when curing their olives, the use of herbs, spices and vinegar are common ingredients. Here is a brief explanation of the different types of curing methods.

Brine curing utilizes brine or a mixture of salt and water to cure olives and relieve it of bitter taste. A brine mixture usually has one cup salt to every gallon of water. Cutting or breaking the olives will allow the brine to infuse more efficiently into the olive. The olives are then allowed to soak in the brine for as long as two months depending on the grower before they are bottled for consumption.

Dry curing is the most basic curing method and was the first method to be used. Olives are mixed with kosher salt; 1 pound of salt is mixed in with every 2 pounds of olives. Dry curing often takes 6 weeks before olives are ready to be consumed. Curing olives this way gives the olive a wrinkled appearance, which is different from the store bought olives we are accustomed to.

Curing olives is the only way to turn this bitter fruit into the delectable food item we know.