Chaffin Family Orchards has 200 acres of olive trees in California which they harvest fresh and use to make their own olive oil. They have four varieties of fresh olives to choose from; Manzanillo, Sevillano, Mission, and Barouni. All of their olives are farmed organically using no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. They use cover crops and rotations of cattle, goats, sheep and chickens to control vegetation and fertilize the orchards organically. When they offered to send me a box at no cost, I didn’t hesitate to agree. Thank you Chaffin Family Orchards!
As many olives as I have eaten in my life, I have never seen them in their raw, uncured state. From researching, I came to understand that they are completely inedible raw. They are extremely bitter containing compounds called oleuropein. Of course, when I received my box, the first thing I did was take a bite. WOW… HORRIBLE! It’s true, they are inedible. Olives must be “cured” to remove the bittnerness in order to make them palatable.
Their are different methods to curing olives. Brine Curing, Lye Curing, Salt Curing, Water Curing and Curing in Olive Oil. For my first experiment I decided on a traditional brine cure. A recipe given by a Spanish Gypsy for salt cured ripe olives.
Since this process will take me about 1 months to complete, this post will be the first of a 2 part series.
Salt Cured Ripe Olives
-A Recipe Given by A Spanish Gypsy
- 5 pounds green mature olives
- 1-1/2 quarts water
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar
- Olive Oil
2. Rinse the olives.
3. Place them in a stoneware, earthenware, glass, or porcelain jar and cover with cold water. Weight them with a piece of wood or a plastic bag filled with water (to keep the olives submerged) and keep them in a dark, cool place for ten days, changing the water every day.
I am currently on day 2 of changing the water. Once this is done, I will move to the brining stage of curing these olives. They will sit in a brine for at least 2 weeks. Once my olives are cured I will post a follow up with the recipe and update on how they taste and smell.
The harvest season is not yet over. If you’d like to attempt your own olive curing at home Chaffin Family Orchards is currently harvesting their olives. Their should be a couple weeks left and the prices are great! Chaffin Family Orchards does have a webstore where you can have organically raised raw olives shipped to you. For $34.99 they will send you a 20lb box! That works out to $20 for 20lbs plus $15 to cover the shipping. That’s a deal!!
I’m excited to share how my olives end up tasting. Thank you again to Chaffin Family Orchards for sending me these olives.
– Chaffin Family Orchard sent me olives to cure at home. I am not being paid and am under no obligation to share about their webstore. I do, however, feel passionate about sharing sustainably raised products from local family farmers and artisans!
Great! This is one of the things that I want to do before I die, curing olives! But you see it's not very easy to find raw olives around Madrid, unless you have an olive tree to pick them…
Awesome! I've never had an uncured olive…they look so…well, fresh! ha!
Belinda @zomppa says
I know a few folks who would love this! Your boys look like they did too!
Fresh Local and Best says
This is one of the more exciting items that I have seen brined yet! I'm going to look into whether I have some space to brine these green olives. I'm really curious how these are going to turn out.
Sustainable Eats says
OMG I can't believe how nasty an uncured olive is! I can only believe that someone must have had an olive tree close to salt water and somehow got up the nerve to taste one that had fallen into the water and brined for weeks.
I cured mine last OCT and they have only recently become edible. I don't think I'll ever cure them again even though it was fun. I believe in slow food but I just don't have the counterspace for it! Glad you are trying them – I tried a dry salt and a brine and the brine was the only one that worked for me. Good luck!
xo, Sustainable Eats
Very interesting — and your little helpers are adorable.
Congrats on moving on to Challenge 4.
What a great idea, red velvet cookies! Love that!
Where can I find part 2? How did these olives turn out? I’d love to try making them for the first time.
Diana Bauman says
Elizabeth, I never did document my final results. They turned out great, I just need to get the recipe out there. Sorry about that!
mine are going a bit more brown then id like… on day 3 of a water cure… how brown did yours go?
Diana Bauman says
Ric, mine didn’t turn brown. They turned a deeper shade of green, but not brown. What temperature is the room that they are fermenting in?