If it's ferment-able, I will ferment it.
Last year, my friend Kim McCollum made home-cured olives. They were delicious, firm and salty, shot through with flavor. I wanted more.
She got 'em at an ethnic foods market in her 'hood. For some reason or another, they're only available in uncured form at Barbur World Foods. I haven't looked for them, so maybe every Safeway on the west coast has 'em. But I don't think so.
Back in December, Kim bought a passel of green, uncured olives for a bunch of us at work to play with. (see Curing Olives on this blog) I think I started with two pounds.
But how to cure them? I have three preparations. One batch, on the far left, went straight into brine. Two batches were flushed with fresh water, twice daily for three days and eight days respectively.
Flushing with water is said to wash away some of the bitterness.
The flushed olives are garnished with lemon and garlic and brined as such: 1 qt water, 1/4 cup sea or pickling salt with garlic and lemon, topped with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
The batch flushed for just three days tastes the best to me. The other two quarts are still fermenting in the bedroom. It's the only place in the apartment that is consistently warm. I ferment everything in the BR. The olives don't smell, but everything else has a distinct aroma.
--When I'm making a large batch of sauerkraut or saurruben (turnip kraut) the bedroom smells like dirty socks, sweet kombucha and weed.
For me, the true test of an olive is in a cocktail. Specifically my favorite, a dirty vodka martini. No, I like them filthy (the scale being dusty, a little brine; dirty, a bit more; and filthy very briney).
So, I wrapped a martini around one of them... It was delicious. Lemony, briney, garlicky with a hint of olive oil.
Yes, that is an olive spoon -- it's an iced tea spoon with a large circle cut out of the bowl of the spoon and two fork-like tines at the end. My ex-husband, Jamie, (bless his heart) was always buying me nutty kitchen stuff.
Make olives at home. It's fun!