Greek Style Olives in Brine

Supplies needed:

1 pound mature, fully colored (dark red to purplish black) olives

126 grams pickling or Kosher Salt (not iodized)

Airtight, food grade plastic or glass containers (for olives)

1 qt. container for mixing brine

Preparation:

1.     Sort the olives according to size, if desired-a batch will cure more evenly if the fruit are similar in size. Discard any bruised or defective fruit.

2.     Pack the sorted olives into containers that can be make airtight-a 1 quart jar is the smallest size recommended.

3.     Prepare medium brine with 42 grams of salt per quart of water.

4.     Cover the olives with the brine and close lids loosely. Store filled containers at about 60-80 degrees F.

5.     After 7 days, replace brine with a fresh batch of strong brine made with 84 gramssalt per quart of water. Close the lids firmly. Store the olives in the brine for at least 2 months. If you prefer less bitter olives, replace the brine with a fresh batch of strong brine at 1 month intervals for 2 or 3 months.

6.     Check the containers at regular intervals. If gas pressure builds up during fermentation and causes the lids to bulge, carefully loosen and release the built up gas and then firmly close them again. The gas is naturally produced by the bacteria that are respondsible for fermentation.

7.     If you like fairly bitter olives you can eat these olives (or use for cooking) after 2 months of storage. If you like them less bitter give them another month before eating.

8.     These Greek-style olives can be stored in the strong brine in a cool, dark place for 1 year if the jars remain airtight (to minimize mold or surface yeast) and do not corrode.

9.     To avoid mold growth on the surface after opening any olive container, refrigerate any uneaten olives. To reduce saltiness, you can soak the olives overnight in fresh water before eating out of hand. After this soaking you can place the olives in a little olive oil. The olive oil may congeal in the refrigerator, so before serving allow the olives to sit at room temperature until the oil liquefies.