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Where Can I Buy Lye For Curing Olives


Curing in lime is faster and more cost-efficient than curing olives in brine, but because it leeches a lot of the flavour out, it also produces the least flavourful result. Some feel as well that a slight chemical taste is left behind.




where can i buy lye for curing olives


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At the end of autumn it is olive picking time in NZ. If you've got access to olives, preserving some is definitely the way to go. My favourite way to preserve them is through making salt brine cured olives. This post will show you how to cure olives in a salt brine.


Once they're finished the taste will outweigh the effort spent on the brining. If you have an olive tree (or a few) on your property you'll know how abundantly they can produce. Unless you're planning on pressing for oil, in which case you'll usually need 50kg minimum, there's not much else to do with olives except for curing them.


Now here's the bit that will determine how long your cured olives will take. You can choose now to slit your olives, or leave them whole. Slitting each olive will allow the water and salt to penetrate it faster and remove the bitterness.


To slit the olives, use a sharp knife to cut a little slit into each olive. Alternatively, you can carefully 'crush' your olives with a heavy object such as a meat tenderiser or a flat stone. Crush them enough to just break the skin but not to completely flatten the olives.


After soaking in water, it is time to soak your olives in brine. You can make a simple brine solution using a ratio of 1 parts salt to 10 parts water. Use an unprocessed salt such as rock salt or sea salt.


Cover the olives with the brine in a bucket, jar or container with a lid. Make sure the olives are again completely submerged. I put mine in a bucket and an upside down plate works to hold them down. Loosely seal the jar or container with a lid. You may need to open it every couple of days for the first week to release some of the gases. Alternatively an airlock can be used.


How often you change the brine is dependant on the environment and how quickly you want them to be ready. If the olives stay submerged and there is no sign of mould, the brine doesn't need to be changed. If mould is growing, tip the brine out, rinse the olives really well and make fresh brine.


Cover the olives with the vinegar brine and flavourings. Ensure the olives are submerged under the brine. Pour over a thick layer of olive oil which will stop oxygen touching the olives. Screw the lid on the jars, and let them sit for a week to infuse the newly added flavours before sampling.


Olives like this can store in a sealed jar for up 6 months in a cool dark place, or in the refrigerator for up to a year. Once opened (meaning, once the olives are no longer kept under the olive oil), use within 3 weeks. Try them on focaccia bread! Here's a sourdough version too.


I'm sure there's a proud parent or two out there whose kid snacks on olives like grapes. I'm not one of those parents, nor was I that kid. But I can tell you I eventually came around to the salty little flavor bombs in the late 1990s, thanks in equal measure to muffulettas, dirty martinis, and this most famous and beloved recipe. I suspect many of you have similar experiences.


It's possible, though, that you haven't yet embraced olives, maybe based on your experience with those bland black circles some call a pizza topping. Or maybe you've spent most of your time and money in the jarred, pre-stuffed olive section of the grocery store.


Think of olives as the fruits they are. Native to the Mediterranean and dating back to biblical times, they start out green on the trees and, as they ripen, develop color and flavor. (Well, the curing process also impacts their color and flavor. More on that in a minute.)


Most commercial olives also are harvested by machine, a cost-effective method that operates on the premise that olives ripen at the same rate on the tree (they don't!). The highest-quality olives are picked, sorted, and even stuffed by hand, says Ryan Foote, a Whole Foods Market specialty coordinator. You'll pay more for them.


Lye-curing is the most common method, says Foote. Olives picked either green or fully mature soak in a lye solution and then a saltwater brine. This draws out the bitterness and triggers fermentation. "You get that briny, lactic acid taste to it as well," says Foote.


Then there's what's labeled the "ripe olive." These are young, green olives that are lye-cured, then exposed to oxygen and ferrous gluconate, an iron compound, which produces a black, smooth, mild-tasting olive. Green ripe olives are produced the same way but not oxidized; that's why they stay green.


What's more, pitted olives soften and take on the flavor of the brine they're sitting in. Or, as our own Matt Duckor so bluntly puts it: "They become a deflated, literal shell of their former selves."


There are hundreds of olive varietals. Small, firm Spanish Manzanillas are commonly used to make generically labeled "green olives" and branded California Ripe Olives. Here's a rundown of other popular types and some worth seeking out.


The olives should be mostly submerged in brine. "That's your first clue as to whether or not they're being taken care of. This will keep them fresh and moist, and from drying out and oxidizing," Foote says.


It's not a bad idea to spoon some of the brine into the container with your olives. At Whole Foods, Foote says they'll let you take home extra brine in a separate container free of charge. Other stores might, too. Never hurts to ask.


Jarred olives keep for months, and olives from the fresh bar will be fine for two to three weeks. The quicker you eat them, the better their flavor will be. There's no need in either case to constantly replace the brine. Just make sure there's always brine left.


For lye curing, green olives work best. Those that have started to turn, with patches of grey or yellow-green, or those that are grey-green, work well also. The blacker the olive, the more ripe it is, and the more likely it is to fall apart during a lye treatment.


4. When you determine how much water will cover the olives by a few inches, reserve some of the water to make your lye solution. For example, I used 7 quarts of water, estimating that one more quart was needed to cover the olives. So, I reserved one quart to mix the lye. To mix the lye, I wore gloves, long sleeves, pants, and a bandana wrapped around my nose and mouth.


9. Fish out a few large olives with your stainless steel or wooden spoon and rinse under cold water. Test for lye penetration by cutting a segment of the olive away with a knife. When lye has penetrated to the pit, the flesh should be yellowish green all the way through. In my test olives, the flesh around the pits was still whitish and milky. This meant the olives needed another round of lye.


15. After rinsing twice, I filled the bucket with cold water and let the olives stand for 12 hours. For the next 2-3 days, you drain and add cold water every 12 hours to leach out the lye. You do not have to measure the water for this step.


18. The next steps depend on how long you wish to store your olives. We store ours in the fridge, so we follow the long-term storage recommendations, a two-step process. (You can also pressure-can them.)


The cracked green ones in vinegar and spices are good, of course. How could they not be? Salt, vinegar and garlic is a winning combination every time. Both for scaring off vampires and pickling olives.


Black lye cured olives from the same 151 year old tree mentioned above. These were jet black when John picked them, but they lost most of their color during lye curing. They are kept in a light brine.


Nocellara Del Belice olives are grown in and around Sicily, Italy. We source ours from small family farms, who we've worked with for decades. These olives are picked between late September and October while they are young, ripe, and vibrant in color. After harvest, they are washed in lye for several hours to lose their bitter taste. Then, they are rinsed repeatedly to remove the lye. This process to cure the olives, called Castelvetrano-style, was developed in the town of the same name. Today, people often call the olives themselves Castelvetranos, but originally that referred to the curing process only.


Halkidiki olives are large, green Greek olives with an oval shape that are most often harvested in October, before they're fully mature.They grow exclusively in the Halkidiki region, near Mount Athos, in Northern Greece. We source our Halkidiki olives from small family farms, who we have worked with for decades.


Like with many olives, Kalamatas are named after their place of origin - Kalamata, Greece. Unlike other producers looking for cheaper alternatives in Turkey and Egypt, Mezzetta has sourced succulently rich, tender and meaty olives from the same small family farms in the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece for the past 30 years. Kalamata olives distinguish themselves from other varieties with their almond shape and dark aubergine color. Once harvested, Kalamatas are naturally cured in a salt brine. Once cured, they are stored in a brine containing red wine vinegar to achieve optimal flavor.


The Queen "Gordal" olive ('the fat one' in Spanish) gets its name from its extraordinary size relative to other olives. Hailing from the Spanish Mediterranean coast, where we've worked with small family farms for over 30 years, these olives are first treated with lye before naturally curing in a salt brine.


Curing with water or brineThe more traditional way of curing olives is to submerge them in vats of fresh water or seasoned and salted brine, which brings out the natural flavors.


We all know there are green and black olives. The difference is the harvest time: Green olives are picked while not fully ripe, which makes them denser and more bitter than the black olives. The black olives stay on the tree until they have fully ripened. Only unblemished and plump olives are used for eating, the rest goes to the mill to make olive oil. 041b061a72


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