Home-curing Olives

While most of the olive trees at Condor’s Hope produce olives best for making oil, we have 8 trees of a Greek variety that make wonderful cured olives.  We’ve been experimenting for several years with home curing and the recipe below has produced irresistible olives to enjoy and share with friends.  Let us know how yours turn out!

Robbie & Steve


Brining Olives

  1. Place freshly harvested olives in a glass, ceramic, or plastic container. Do not use metal.
  2. Mix non-iodized kosher or canning salt in a container separate from the olives. Keep adding salt and stirring until a raw egg in the shell floats to the surface (it might be about 1lb of salt per gallon of fresh, cold water).
  3. Pour this brine over the olives until all olives are submerged.
  4. Place a plate or round of wood on top of the liquid/olive mix inside the container in order to push the olives below the level of the brine.
  5. Cover the container to exclude light.
  6. For the first 3-4 weeks change the brine weekly, pouring off the old brine and adding newly made brine in the same way described above.
  7. For the next month or so after that, you can go to changing the brine every two weeks. After about a month and half, taste an olive or two to see if the salt brine has extracted the bitterness from the olives to your own taste.  If not, change the brine again. If you like the taste, wash the olives with fresh water and “can” immediately as described below.
  8. Note: it is not uncommon for a scum to form on the surface of the brine between changes.  Just skim it off when you change the brine.
  9. Once the olives have reached the taste you prefer, you are ready to “can” the olives in canning jars, using whatever size you want.

Canning your Olives

  1. First sterilize the jars and lids.
  2. Fill the canning jars with washed olives up to about ½ inch from the top. Insert flavoring items to taste, such as a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, a piece of lemon rind, or a slice of jalapeño.
  3. Heat a 1 to 1 mix of a light salt brine and red wine vinegar almost to boiling. (Salt brine is about ½ pound to a gallon of water.)
  4. Pour the hot mixture over the olives in the jars, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top.
  5. Float enough bulk olive oil over the top of the solution to form about an 1/8 inch thick layer to seal out air.
  6. Seal the jars and let cool. Do NOT heat the jars of olives.
  7. Place in a cool, dark location, letting the olives “cure” for about a month or so before beginning to consume.
  8. Enjoy!!!!


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8 Responses to “Making Home-cured Olives”

  1. Thank you so much. I recently moved to Northern California and am surrounded by old neglected olive trees. I brined about 12 gallons of ripe olives and am loving the early results. Now I know how to preserve them. Just loving this. Thanks again.

  2. Still have about 50 pounds of Arbequina and Pendolino olives from last year resting comfortably in the cellar along some older Condor wines. After using the recipe above our daughter spiced each jar different–anything from lemon and garlic to cloves. The results were fabulous and we used to bring them out to share with friends coming over to dinner…..remember that? Just picked this year’s crop, about 1/10th of last years. Fortunately, the apple crop came in big and we’ve got about 3 gallons of cider brewing. Cheers!

  3. Robbie, I wanted to “can” my olives but your instructions say do not heat the jars. Is this not recommended because of the oil and vinegar? I have seen videos on you tube where olives are sealed and “canned” by boiling jars for 20 minutes like you would for jam. Thank you Aaron

  4. There are several questions about ‘canning’ the olives so they store well. Here’s what we do:
    – we make sure all of the jars and lids are sterilized (generally by washing the jars in the dishwasher and boiling the lids).
    – we heat the liquid that will go over the olives just to boiling.
    – we pour this hot liquid over the olives to within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.
    – then we immediately float olive oil over the hot liquid to the top of the jar and immediately seal the jar. The lids seal as they cool.
    This preserves the olives and we store them in a cool, dry location until opening. Once opened, we keep them in the refrigerator.
    Hope this is helpful.

  5. When we put the olives up after fermenting the ratio is about 1 part salt brine:1 part vinegar. Whether your amount is a gallon or not depends on how many olives you are putting up. Good luck!
    This past year we found that red wine vinegar was difficult to find so we substituted apple cider vinegar and liked that as well.

  6. I left olives in brine 6 months but couldn’t eat them all, so I canned them in a pressure cooker in the same brine. they taste horrible. how and why was it a mistake?

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