I received a wonderful gift of more than five kilograms of olives from my mum's neighbour, whose tree was practically drooping with the weight of so much luscious fruit. It was so laden that my mum also took over five kilograms and is also following this recipe as I write!
Remembering to change olive water every two days for a forty day period is a L-O-N-G time to be engaged with one project and so I am thankful my husband took over this part of the recipe.
It was fascinating to taste an olive every now and then and to experience the gradual reduction in bitterness; a bit like salting and rinsing eggplant but in the slowest of motions. On day forty we were pleasantly surprised to find that they were ready perfectly on time...but of course on that particular day I seriously couldn't be bothered moving on to the bottling phase.
Fast forward a couple of days and, having never pickled my own olives, I was surprised when the entire job took me less than thirty minutes. It was, of course, very handy that I had the most enormous jars on hand to encase my salty little treasures and also that I just happened to have a jar of preserved lemons ready and waiting to assist with the flavour enhancement. I didn't make much of an effort to ensure my bits and pieces were showing in the photo (lemon, thyme and garlic) but I suspect they will do their job most efficiently whilst nestled in the centre of the bottles.
I have a very special lunch event coming up (fifty odd guests, no biggie) and have decided to whip up some olive paste to accompany my ever popular flatbreads. Not a bad plan, as I imagine there are only so many olives a little family can eat! x