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Oct 11, 2008 11:41 AM

Fresh dates and olive curing

I have noticed fresh olives are around in Toronto and was wondering if anyone had any tips for curing and/or brining green and black olives.

Also, what to do with fresh dates? From other posts it seems that you just let them ripen until they are brown?


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  1. Where do you get the fresh olives? I might want to play with this myself...

    1. Re: dates - yup, let them get brown and squishy, and just when you'd swear they are rotten all the way through is exactly the moment they are ready to eat. Yum!

      1 Reply
      1. re: chloe103

        There are black and green olives on St. Clair west of Dufferin on the south side. First market west of Dufferin also has the dates. At some of the Italian grocery places further down are the black olives. Oh also I saw a box for $22 at a store at Dovercourt and Hallam.

        I will go for the fresh dates then, sounds good...

      2. The following gives four options for home curing olives. The only method I am familiar with is lye curing. We did black olives which turned out delicious.

        1. Curing green olives is pretty easy, if not necessarily worth the effort.

          The easiest method is if you have access to a clean stream. Score each of the olives with a knife, put them in a mesh sack, attach a cord and toss them into a cool swift-moving part of the stream for a week or so. If you don't have a stream, submerge them in copious amounts of cold water, and change the water at least once a day (at least twice a day for the first couple days) for two weeks.

          In either way, you'll know they're done when biting into one tastes good instead of making you want to have your mouth amputated. At this point, you can eat them right away, cook them in sauces or braises or what have you. Or you can preserve them, in salt or in a brine. Layer them with lots of lemons and some herbs.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tmso

            What is lye? Is it present in all green olive curing?

            No access to a clean stream, that would be nice. I tried this a few years ago and it didn't work out with green olives but maybe I will try black instead. I was hoping there was another way but this sounds easy enough. Thanks.

            1. re: albanis

              I wouldn't bother messing with lye; it's sodium hydroxide, which is a powerful base, and if you aren't careful it can be rather dangerous (blinding, scarring, etc). You're probably more familiar with it in it's non-food-use form, drain-o.

              I mentioned the clean stream, not because I thought you had one, but to give you an idea of the amount of rinsing necessary for the water method (and because it brings back nice memories). If I were going to guess what went wrong in your previous attempt, you didn't use copious enough water, agitate it enough, and/or change the water often enough. You remove the bitterness through osmosis, so you want to keep that water fresh and the osmotic pressure relatively high.

              You don't have a natural stream, but you might well have a plastic bucket and a faucet that you can leave running in a small stream. Probably faster and reduces the amount of water changes needed, if not nice for the water bill.

              1. re: tmso

                Hmm, not sure I want to do that either! Is there a salt or oil curing method? I just don't have time to constantly monitor, although changing water multiple times a day is fine I suppose...

          2. You might want to read this thread. I am looking at my olive trees and see they are full of fruit. I may get the energy to try one of these methods. Good luck.