Questions?     Email us at:

navbar HOME

ABCís of Home-Cured, Green-Ripe Olives

US Department of Agriculture, University of California

Notes: For olive processing use wood, glass, stoneware, or heavy, light-colored plastic containers, NO galvanized or aluminum. Dissolve lye in water as instructed on container then let cool to room temperature.

A. Lye Treatment

1. Soak olives 12 hours in lye solution. 4 T. lye to 1 gallon water, cooled. Stir occasionally.

2. Drain, soak 12 more hours in a fresh lye solution. Cut into a large olive and check to see if lye has penetrated to the pit. Color of olive will have a subtle change to yellow-green where lye has penetrated.

3.If lye hasnít penetrated to the pit, mix another fresh lye solution and soak another 12 hours.

B. Rinse

1. Rinse in cold water.

2. Soak 6 hours in fresh, cold water.

3. Change the water and soak 6 hours in fresh, cold water, repeating 4 times a day for 4-8 days until there is no lye taste.

C. Brine Cure

1. Cover with a weak salt brine, 6 T. salt per gallon of water. Let stand two days. Refrigerate and use within two weeks.

2.To keep longer, store in a strong salt brine for up to several months, 1 2/3 cups salt to one gallon water. To eat, soak overnight in fresh water to remove excess salt. Olives can also be PRESSURE canned.

Seasoning. Flavor olives in their brine (either strength) for several days for flavor to be absorbed. Use your favorite herbs such as oregano, tarragon, paprika and add garlic or onions.

California Olives, In the Ground and On the Table
Photo Essay of Olive Curing