The olive picking season is now nearing its end in our beautiful island. And I am so happy and grateful to now have super yummy thick & delicious olive oil, to last us until the next season rolls around.
As for the actual olives, meaning the eating-kind, we just buy them in the super markets and grocery stores. It is not worth the trouble of actually making them, as there is a wide variety of olives from all over Greece, readily available throughout the year.
Because of this blog however, and its main purpose of honoring our family heritage in the kitchen, I got inspired this year and decided to pickle some olives!
By the time I got around to picking the one and only tree that hadn’t been “milked” for oil, the olives on it were half black already. Never mind that the actual recipe is for green olives, I have no doubt that this lot will turn out just as delicious. Maybe even more so, in their unique half green half black self.
The recipe I will share is from my brother-in-law Magdi. He was the king of pickling! Any vegetable, of any sort, be sure that Magdi pickled it and alchemy-ed it into a spicy pick me up form, to delight (and sometimes shock!) your taste buds.
Over thirty years ago, my mother-in-law was seriously ill in the hospital. Those stressful weeks, naturally headed me towards the kitchen, in what I now recognise as a life-time habit of seeking relief through cooking. One Saturday morning, I called my sister long distance and asked her to please ask her husband for his recipe for pickled olives. My ever so diplomatic sister, delicately covered the phone with her hand and told her husband in a very worried voice: “Magdi, I think the girl has lost it! Her mother-in-law is in hospital and she wants to pickle olives!”
That story had become a classic that my sister loved recounting for years to come whenever we got together.
Needless to say I did get that recipe, and I did pickle those olives.
So here it is, for those of you who are inspired to pickle olives:
Magdi’s Pickled Olives!!
3 pickling jars of 750ml each (the ones that have a rubber thingy around the lid – see picture)
2 kgs olives
3 lemons (one for each jar)
6 large garlic cloves (two for each jar)
1 lemon for juicing
4 cups boiling water
1 ½ cups salt
with a sharp knife put a slit in each olive (to allow the bitterness to escape)
soak the slit olives in water for 3-5 days, making sure to rinse and change the water once or twice/day.
P.S. Don’t skimp on those first two steps or you will end up with bitter olives almost impossible to eat.
Divide your olives in three separate bowls. To each bowl you will add 2 garlic cloves slit in half, and one lemon cut into thin-ish wedges. Mix well, and put the content of each bowl in a jar.
Combine the boiling water, the salt, and the juice of one lemon, stir well until salt is dissolved.
Divide the brine between the 3 jars. Make sure you leave enough space to be able to close the lid well. You may end up with some extra brine, just discard.
Push the olives lightly with your fingers to make sure that they’re all covered with the brine. Cover with a layer of oil, and seal the lids tightly.
Store your jars in a dry place. I also cover them with a dark towel to prevent exposure to the light.
Now for the hard part: do not be tempted to open before at least 3 months! You may leave them longer if you wish, they can stay for as long as a year or more. Let your taste buds be your guide.