Do you remember back in June (I think) I was given some olives from a girl at work and I took them home and soaked them in brine, using a recipe given to me from a guy at work?
The method was to soak them in a heavily salted brine, leaving them for a couple of months. Well, mine have been soaking a little more than that. I was scared they wouldn’t work, so in time honoured ostrich fashion I left them in the cupboard and went on with my life.
Until today. For some reason, I decided that today was the day to get them out and see how they went. (I don’t know why… I wasn’t even thinking about them until I opened the door to the laundry cupboard to put some shopping away and saw them.)
They worked!! *Does a happy dance!*
Of course, there were a few that were too soft, and there was a horribly slimy gloppy mixture around some of them, so they were thrown out too, but once I started rinsing and (gingerly) tasting the olives I was very pleased. They taste just like olives are meant to taste.
Then of course, the question arises as to what to do with them next. I popped onto the Gardening Australia website and found a page on olives with this recipe at the bottom:
SAM HRISTOFIS FAMILY SULTANA OLIVE RECIPE
This is a ‘secret family’ recipe that uses no water to soak the olives and produces intensely flavoured preserved olives without the mess of soaking.
Get a 10kg bucket and drill 1/4″ holes (as many a you like) in the lid and the base.
Get ripe Kalamata olives and put a layer in the bottom of the bucket (approx 3″ deep)
Throw in a handful of rock salt over top of this layer.
Continue olive then salt layer to the top of the bucket or until you run out of olives.
Put on lid and leave for 24 hours.
Turn bucket over. Leave for another 24 hours and turn bucket over again.
Repeat this daily until the 4th day.
Open bucket and taste an olive to check bitterness (some people may like bitter olives and can stop at this stage).
If olives are still too bitter for your taste – continue. If salt seems to have dissolved add about 3 or 4 handsful of rock salt on top of olives.
Continue turning bucket to 10 days checking on bitterness and stop when olives are to your taste.
Usually olives have reached their optimum taste after 10 to 14 days. Keep adding salt if salt has dissolved.
NOTE: olive juice will seep out over this time so make sure bucket is outside.
Olives will be wrinkled – hence the name ‘Sultana Olives’ and their taste will be intense.
Once olives are to your taste, wash thoroughly in fresh cold water until all salt is removed.
Put olives in zip-lock bags and keep in freezer until you need them. Olives will keep for years in the freezer.
Take a bag from the freezer and let thaw naturally. (Do not put in water, microwave etc)
Put olives in container and add 50:50 oil and vinegar to cover (oil of your choice and vinegar of your choice – Sam of course chooses his best olive oil and often uses balsamic vinegar but you can experiment here with different oils and vinegars)
Add herbs of your choice – basil, chilli, garlic, oregano, lemon, dill.
The beauty of Sam’s recipe is that each zip-lock bag can be made up separately as you need it and each can be flavoured separately so you can have plain or flavoured olives all year round.