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How to preserve Olives

It will soon be Olive picking season (October to January) so how do you turn a freshly picked olive into a succulent edible one? If you have ever tried to eat an olive straight from the tree, you will know what I mean - it's VERY bitter and VERY hard.

If you use the method below, you will end up with wonderful sweet olives and you can add all sorts of herb combinations to create your own special marinated olives.   The local Cypriots tend to use other methods of "sweetening" olives, mainly using LARGE quantities of salt, sometimes they cure them by covering them with salt for a week!   If you have tried olives in Cyprus and hated them, this could be the reason why! 

  • Make a slit in each olive or crack each one open carefully with a wooden mallet.


  • Put the olives in a large bowl and cover with water.


  • Change the water daily for two weeks to extract the bitterness and make the olives "sweet".


  • After 14 days, drain the olives and place in a solution of brine made with 100g salt/1 litre water for every kilo of olives - leave for 2 days.


  • Drain again and place in a solution of vinegar and water made with 1 part water to 4 parts vinegar for a further two days.


  • Finally, drain the olives again and store them in olive oil and herbs of your choice OR a mix of 3 parts brine (made as above) to 1 part vinegar covered with a layer of oil.
Have fun and enjoy!

See also How to make scented Olive Oil
Kellie Hodge
Posted: August 22, 2008 by Kellie Hodge 8 comments
About the Author -

Travel writer, customer service guru, Kellie knows the ins and outs of car rental and always happy to share her knowledge on our blog. Favourite country to visit: Spain.

Last updated: Friday, July 3, 2020
roz storms
can olives be cured in a hot water bath,is there a recipe for it
9/29/2010 7:57:08 PM
roslyn storms
can olives be processed in a hot water bath
9/26/2010 8:43:23 PM
Margaret (Cyprus pws)
Plain and simple - thanks !
9/11/2010 3:07:05 PM
Alex Constantine
Hi, I'm in the south west of France and have eight olive trees in pots around a sun drenched terrace, this year they have a fair amount of fruit which I picked today, (did I do wrong?), they are currently soaking in water, which will be changed daily for the next ten days, (I have followed a recipe found on the internet), it then says to put them into brine for three months. Does this sound right to you, as there are several pages of different ideas on Google?
I live near Nerac and as yet have not found any decent olives; the best are tinned from the Intermarche. I have resorted to bringing my own from Jeroboam in London.
Many thanks,
8/29/2009 2:13:53 PM
Thanks for your ricipe,So easy just picked up 10kg of olives grown by a workmate can't wait to try them
5/20/2009 8:13:05 AM
Sorry, leave for another 2 days.
10/6/2008 1:04:41 PM
joe borg
how long do you keep the olives in the a part water and 4 parts vinegar for plse?
10/5/2008 9:04:25 PM
kay bedford
how long do you keep the olives in the a part water and 4 parts vinegar for plse?
9/1/2008 5:02:45 PM