After two weeks religiously stirring my wee olives, changing their water daily, I have replaced a pyrex bowl of small reddish brown balls with a much more glamorous jar stuffed with almost edible olives and other ingredients of gorgeousness. Although, given my limited crop, the olives are in the minority.
Google offered so many different methods for curing the little blighters, I couldn’t decide which approach to chose. So, I’ve adopted a combination of three techniques all of which appealed to me. Having soaked them for almost two weeks in cold water, they were transformed from hard black blobs into slightly larger, paler and squishier blobs. It’s surprising how much colour seems to leach out of them. Every time I changed the water, more of their glossy blackness was washed away.
My 119 olives were reduced to 118 – one was just that bit too squishy – and the rest jammed into a sealed jar with alternate layers of lemon, chilli, garlic and celery. Yes, celery – that most pointless of vegetables. It pained me to purchase the stuff, but who am I to argue with the collective experience of several different olive curers. That was topped with a mixture of brine, lemon juice and vinegar and the whole caboodle polished off with a layer of oil. One of the many recipes tells me to expect it to ferment and leak over time, so it’s now sitting on a saucer, just in case. It was certainly satisfyingly messy when I closed the lid.
Now I just have to wait anywhere between a week and six months before I can eat them. I’m not sure who to believe on that one. Perhaps we’ll break them out at Christmas. My one year old niece is surprisingly keen on olives. Maybe she’d like to be my first guinea pig. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to palm the excess celery off on her.