How to Brine Olives

We were lucky enough to find wild olives growing in Spain and Portugal so we took a backpack and filled it with green, black and purple olives.  You have to brine them to make them edible as they are incredibly bitter otherwise.  You can then leave them in brine which makes them of the more salty variety, or marinate them in flavoured oil.

This is how we did ours:

Using a knife slit the olives, or alternatively squash with a rolling pin or under a glass to split them.  This helps the brine permeate the olive flesh.

Put your olives in a clean container (use a bucket if you have a lot) and cover with fresh, cold water.  Leave the olives for a week, changing the water daily, this draws out the bitterness.  Next make your brining solution.

To one gallon of water, add

  • Two cups of salt
  • One pint of vinegar

Bring to a rolling boil (boiling reduces the likelihood of mould growth while curing) then let cool completely.  Drain the water from your olives, rinse well, then recover with the brine.

Leave to cure for 3-4 weeks until the olives are palatable.  You can either jar the olives in more brine, or alternatively cover them with olive oil with added herbs such as bay leaves, rosemary or thyme, whole crushed garlic cloves, chilli flakes, strips of lemon peel, peppercorns, roasted pepper, capers….etc.  Once marinated leave for another week or so to develop the flavours.


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