How to Dry Black Olives the Figs and Feta Way

In Melbourne, it is that time of year to pick OLIVES! Funny things, you either love them or hate them. Me, well, I cannot get enough of any which way. They are all delicious!

I Love: Olive

Like making salami, olive picking is a day when families come together, enjoy each other’s company, laugh and get climbing. But this time, I found these black beauties in our local fresh produce store. There was no way I could pass these delights without already tasting them and the thought of using them to create a Trattoria styled table setting. Perfect for a casual lunch, using fresh produce for your table sets a relaxed atmosphere right from the get-go…’ hands off the Blue Cheese’…another weakness of mine.


So let’s start the curing process!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Black Olives
  • Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • Oregano
  • Salt

Starting to Cure

Start by placing a layer of the olives in a bucket and top with some fresh garlic cloves, oregano and half a handful of salt. Continue until halfway full as this will then allow me room to shake them. Once complete, cover them with a cloth and leave them to rest in a dark place for about three weeks.

Of course, if you are not a garlic or oregano lover, you can choose to omit them.

Love is the Cure

During this time, give the olives shake and mix around the same time each day. Let’s say, giving them a little LOVE! As they begin to cure, they will release a briny liquid which you use to cover the olives. By the time the three weeks is up, you would hope to have a beautiful sweet taste. If not, leave them for a few more days before starting the drying and preserving process.

Living in Melbourne, we experience four seasons in one day, so drying them in the oven will get the job done. It’s as simple as placing them in a preheated oven to 180-200 degrees, then turning off the heat once they’re in and left overnight. You repeat this process 2 to 3 times. The other alternative is to leave them in the sun for 3 to 4 consecutive days bringing them inside overnight. And again, repeat until if they are right for you.

Preserve the Love

If you are making your own olives for the first time, a good indication to know if your olives are ready is the skin is wrinkled and the inside still plumpy and juicy. All dried, now let’s get them sealed into sterilised jars. Boiling these on the stove in a pot of water for half an hour will give you the final preserve. When the time is up, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool completely and proudly store them in a dark place for up to twelve months.

There, simple!

Priceless Rewards

So you might be saying, oh, how time-consuming. And I no doubt it is, but what you get from the process for yourself is unlike any other experience. Well, that’s the point, allowing yourself to experience. So much comes up for you whilst you are in ME time, and this scenario gives LOVE to your OLIVES. Appreciation, fascination, inspiration, experimentation and the list goes on. It gives you new conversation and keeps your eyes open for new ways and ideas, all contributing to your GROWTH. The growth that you cannot buy!

TRY IT! I recommend buying only a kilo or two to have the experience. The first time I made olives, my youngest daughter was fascinated. From that moment, she developed a deep love for olives trees and has fond memories of climbing the tree at her late grandmother’s home.

Memories you cannot buy either!

If you love our ‘Beautiful Approach to Living’, I invite you to become a FIG Society member. The place where you develop the COURAGE to follow your dreams, try new things, meet new people and live a fulfilled life! Share your curing journey with us through Instagram @figsandfetaau. You can also read more healthy and interesting recipes, subscribe to our magazine on iOS or Android.

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