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Table Olives

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Home Processing  of Table Olives

Processing olives at home is not difficult and we have a few recipes that are tried and tested (click on the Simple Recipes link above) but we will warn you there are a few things that can go wrong. In order to process your own olives for home use we would strongly advise you follow these guidelines:

  • Hygiene - vitally important that everything you use is spotlessly clean
  • Sort the olives carefully and discard any that are bird pecked, bruised, diseased or otherwise not top quality
  • Keep to consistent colours and sizes or the olives will not all be ready at the same time
  • Sterilise all your equipment prior to starting
  • If in doubt - throw it out!
  • Measure your brine using a refractometer (as shown) or a hydrometer to make sure you have the correct amount of salt - too little and there is a real chance of bacterial spoilage, too much and the skins will come off the olives leaving a mush.
  • Prepare all the jars, lids, bottles, marinades, herbs and spices before you start the process
  • Use cooking salt, not table salt, rock salt, sea salt or salt with added iodine. Just simple cooking salt
  • Make sure the water supply is potable - tank water can often be contaminated with micro-organisms that may cause serious problems
  • If you want to speed up the processing, either break open the olives with a mallet of slit them with a sharp knife - but be careful
  • Green olives will take longer to process than black
  • Large olives will take longer to process than small
  • Solid olives will take longer to process than slit
  • Slit olives will take longer to process than cracked
  • Once in the jar processing may take 3 weeks or as long as 12 months depending on these variable factors

The Hunter Olive Association holds its annual Olive Show and this includes classes for both commercially produced olives available for sale as well as non-commercial classes.

Non commercial is a classification for people who want to do their own olives at home rather than for sale, but would like to have their finished products examined by qualified and experienced judges. Awards are given for three classes of olives, plus olive tapenade.