Whether you grow your own olives or buy some from one of the local farms, they will be hard and bitter.
A curing process is necessary to soften them and remove the oleuropein that cause the unpleasant taste.
There are a few common ways to cure your olives – including dry curing with salt, water curing and brining – and each produces a distinct flavour and texture profile, while being suited for different types of olives. There is a fourth common and very effective method – lye curing – but we do not recommend this due to its potential to harm the environment and your health.
This method is best suited for green, or ‘immature’, olives as they are normally mild and lack large a quantity of bitter oleuropein.
Once these olives have been rinsed and prepared, they are ‘cracked’ or ‘smashed’ with a stone or mallet so that the internal meat of the fruit can be exposed to water. It is important at this point that the olives are kept as intact as possible, and that the pit is not bruised.
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