Cured Green Olives
Though this recipe is easy, it does take time for the olives to finish curing before they are edible, but they can be put away on a shelf and forgotten about for a couple of months. Then taste them and pretend you are in Puglia.
Wash and dry the olives, which should be firm and healthy. It is okay if some of the olives have ripened to the partially black stage and they have a purplish blush. In Sicily, we call these “black and white olives” (even though they are purple and green!).
With a sharp knife, make 4 incisions lengthwise on each olive, spacing the
incisions evenly apart - don’t worry, no one is going to measure.
Place the olives with their incisions in a non-reactive bowl with the finely chopped carrot and celery. Add the salt, water, and enough vinegar to cover the olives. (If you have a larger amount of olives than this recipe, increase the water and salt accordingly.) Mix well and cover with a paper napkin.
Stir the contents of the bowl once or twice a day. After 4 days, the olives should have darkened to a fairly uniform dark green color, and become soft (but not mushy). If they are still hard, wait another day.
Drain the olive/vinegar mixture in a colander. Make sure that you drain the mixture very well-wait a few minutes and toss the olives in the colander to get rid of excess liquid.
Put the drained olive mixture in a clean storage jar (1 ½ – 2 qt or 1 ½ to 2 liters) and cover the olive mixture with good olive oil. Make sure the oil covers the olives so that they are completely submerged. The olives should not rise above the oil or they will spoil.
Now comes the hard part – waiting. Place the jar of olives in a cool dark place and let them rest for at least 2 months before tasting. The olives should have a pleasantly acidic taste from the vinegar, which has been balanced by the oil. Feast on these home-cured green olives and dream of Puglia. Buon appetito!