Kalamata-style Olives


Use ripe, fully colored (dark-red to purplish black) olives to prepare this style of olive. Make sure the olives are firm and were harvested before the first hard frost. Use an oil rich variety like the Dos Aguilas Tuscans.

Supplies needed

  • 2 1/2 pounds mature, fully colored (dark-red to purplish black) olives

  • 70 grams of pickling or Kosher salt (not iodized)

  • Water

  • Olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 gallon or 2 quart glass containers (for olives)


1. Sort the olives according to size and discard any bruised or defective fruit

2. Rinse the olives in water and drain

3. With a clean, sharp utility knife make one lengthwise cut in each olive, slicing about1/8 inch into olive flesh.

4. Place the cut olives into a 1/2 gallon jar and cover with fresh, cool water. Leave an inch of clearance to the top of the jar as the olives will expand.  Repeat the water change daily for 10-15 days to reach the desired level of de-bittering. If you want less-bitter lives continue soaking for up to 20 days and change water daily. Monitor carefully: over soaking will lead to a soft olive with a washed out taste.

6. Prepare the finish brine: add 70 grams of salt to 3 1/4 cups of cool water, stir to dissolve and add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.

7 Drain the de-bittered olives of the fresh water and pour the finish brine over the olives but leave enough room to pour 3/8 inch of olive oil over the top (to impede formation of mold). Close the container lid firmly and store at about 60-80 degrees F.

8. Allow the olives to marinate in this vinegar-salt solution for about 1 month to develop the desired flavor.

9. These Kalamata-style olives can be stored in the finish brine in a cool, dark place for about a year if the lid remains tight.