Place your clean olives in cold water and change the water each day for 10 days. (I use large, plastic, covered buckets from a local restaurant supply.) weigh the olives down with a plate so they are all submerged. No need to cover at this point. This will start leaching the bitter glucoside out of the olives. Notice the changes in both the color and aroma of the olives.
At the end of the 10-day period, you can make a more permanent brine solution in which to continue the process. Add 1 cup of non iodized salt to each gallon of water. Use enough of this brine to cover the olives. Change this solution weekly for four weeks.
At the end of four weeks, transfer the olives to a weaker brine solution until you are ready to use them. The solution should contain 1/2 cup of non iodized salt to each gallon of water.
Just how long it will take for your olives to become edible, I cannot say. Mine seem to take about two or three months to really develop a rich, olivey flavor. The best piece of equipment you have for assessing when your olives are done is located between your nose and your chin.
Store your olives in the weaker brine in a fairly cool, dark place and keep them covered. A scum may form on the top of the olives, but according to ,y mother's Italian neighbors, this simply adds to the flavor of the olives! Toss out the scum and use any olives that look unspoiled. (A squishy olive is a spoiled olive.)
|... an excerpt of:
"Lost Arts: A Celebration of Culinary Traditions" from (Ten Speed Press)
click on the cover to see it at Amazon.com