Day 69: Pickled Kalamata Olives

Pickled Kalamata Olives    
Day Sixty-Nine (28.07.2012)
Preparation: 8-10 days soaking prior to processing
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner  10 minutes (half-pints & pints)
Yield: 5 x pints (10 cups) per batch
Recipe Source: the method varies depending on the type of olive you are using, read through the
University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; I also found Olives Australia were helpful to understand the process. I used "Grandma's Dill Pickles" recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving p. 328 for the final stage of olive processing.
On Facebook I belong to Perth's Swap Veg, a page where vegetable growers can share their excess, swapping seedlings, fruits, vegetables and such with each other. As I only had a lemon tree producing at the time, I swapped jars of jam, pickles and such for produce instead. One lady posted that she had an olive tree ready for picking, so I traded some
Black Forest Macaroon Conserve for some of the kalamata olives. I took a friend along, and with my 4yr old, we all picked a bucket of olives together :(^_^):

You'll want to sort and start soaking your olives within a few days of picking (ideally within 48hrs) so they don't go bad - the soaking process takes up to 10 days (start checking from day 8). Then, as these are pickled, you can HWB process them (for other methods, ie. canning in a brine solution, you will need to PC as olives are low-acid). Then they're good to go to store up to 12 months in your pantry.

Day 1 - 10. Daily soaking in brine.
Within a day or two of picking your olives, you will start your daily soaking in a salt solution to remove their bitterness. After sorting and then washing olives well, removing any leaves and stems, and removing any unripe olives, place the olives into a large, clean non-metal container then add the salt water. I used a large tupperware container as it had a good seal but you can also use a bucket with a lid/plate covering the top. As long as it's safe for food to be prepared in it. To make your saltwater, dissolve 1/2 cup of kosher/pickling salt into 10 cups of water. Pour over olives, which should be covered with the liquid after putting a clean cloth or plate over olives, to help submerging them in the salt solution. Repeat each day by draining olives, making a fresh amount of kosher salt and water solution, covering olives, submerging them and putting the lid loosely on top of the bucket.
Day 8-10: Test Olives.
At about Day 8, check to see how bitter the olives are by biting one - if it is very bitter, check the following day (continue checking each day until ready to can). You'll know they're ready to can when you bite into one and it is only a little bitter. Then you can get your jars heated, pickle solution heated and finally can then pack your olives into the jars.
Pre-heat jars.For each batch, you'll want to pre-heat your half pint or pint jars by covering in water and simmering for about 10 minutes. Heat the seals and rings by covering with water for about 10 minutes.
Prepare pickling solution.

Combine pickling spice (tied in a piece of cheesecloth), white vinegar, water, 3/4 cup pickling salt and white sugar in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and salt, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the spices to infuse the liquid. When making this solution, it is important to keep the proportion of ingredients the same with one another.
Add olives and spices to jars.
Pack olives into hot half-pint or pint jars to 1/2 inch (1cm) headspace. To each jar, add 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon dried dill and 1 clove of fresh garlic.
Ladle pickling liquid into jars.
Ladle hot pickling liquid into the hot jars, to a 1/2 inch (1cm) headspace. Remove any bubbles, adding extra liquid if required to correct headspace. Olives should be submerged in the pickling liquid.
Wipe jars.
The rims of the jars may be a little sticky, so wipe with a clean, damp cloth then add seals to centre of jars and tighten rings to fingertip-tight.
Hot Water Bath Processing.

Place jars into hot water bath canner, water should cover the top of the jars by 1-2 inches (3-5cm). Add canner lid and put onto high heat. Bring the canner to a boil and then start your timer (10 minutes) once it has begun boiling, and keep the water boiling during this time. Once you have finished processing, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and remove jars after 5 further minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day check jars have sealed: they shouldn't flex up and down when pressed in the centre. If jars haven't sealed, refrigerate or re-process. For sealed jars, remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 5 pints of pickled kalamata olives following this method.     
10 cups freshly picked, ripe kalamata olives

5 cups kosher/pickling salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice
6 cups white vinegar
8 cups water
3/4 cup pickling salt
1/4 cup white sugar
5 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
5 teaspoons dried dill
5 cloves garlic
Variations: add spices/seasonings of your choice to each jar of olives. Fresh garlic and dried chili, for example.

Gift ideas: jar of olives, some sundried tomato chutney, a nice red wine jelly, sounds pretty good! :(^_^):

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