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Fresh olives: how to store and cook them

Three unmissable Sicilian recipes

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Olive schiacciate con carote, sedano e peperoncino, ricetta tradizionale siciliana

October is the month of fresh olives and today I will explain how to preserve and cook them. If you are lucky or in the habit of buying a bag of fresh olives every year, you will know that you can both eat fresh (after having properly treated them), or keep them. First of all, I refer you to our article on’extra virgin olive oil in which we talk in general about the olive tree (Sources, botanica, types and differences).

Basically there are 3 ways to keep fresh olives for a long time and then be able to enjoy them all year round: salted, in brine or in oil. As a good Sicilian I have a clear preference for olives in brine, flavored with garlic, chili pepper and wild fennel. But I will also explain what are the other methods of conservation.

How to store olives in brine

Sicilian pickled olives

SICILIAN PICKLED OLIVES: in my opinion it is the best and safest way to preserve olives. A method widespread throughout Southern Italy with differences in aromatization. In Sicily garlic, chili and fennel are inevitable. But you can add bay leaf or a lemon zest. In the recipe of olives in brine I'll explain in detail how to choose, treat and preserve fresh olives in this way. You can enjoy them after at least 5-6 months, but worth the wait.

Two unmissable recipes with olives

Starting from the olives in brine you can prepare the delicious STUFFED OLIVES MESSINA STYLE, stuffed with a tasty pecorino dough, breadcrumbs and pickles. I suggest you, if you want to prepare them, to choose a cultivar of great caliber such as the Nocellara del Belice or the Bella di Cerignola.

If you do not have the time or patience to prepare olives in brine, you can also use them fresh, drastically shortening the time. I propose the recipe of the OLIVE SICILIAN CRUSHED. You just have to soak them in water to sweeten them, crush them and then season with extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh vegetables: enjoy them like this, on a slice of warm homemade bread. That's yummy.

How to store olives in salt and in oil

OLIVES IN SALT: the process is very simple, just wash the olives well and store them in glass containers alternating layers of olives and coarse salt. You have to press well and take care that the last layer is salt. You can also add a few bay leaves. The method is similar to that of the DRIED TOMATOES IN SALT. Is’ important to eliminate every now and then the liquid that the olives will release into the jar, because the salt dehydrating them will favor the escape of water. After about a month the olives will be ready, you will notice it because they will have lost volume and will be shriveled. Before consuming them, you have to wash them well in water and season them as you like.

OLIVES IN OIL: if you do not want to consume all the olives that you have put in salt, you can store them in oil. To make the olives in oil you must therefore first prepare the olives in salt and, after about 20 days of storage in salt, you can wash and dry them perfectly and close them in jars full of olive oil or extra virgin olive oil. You can flavor them as you like (garlic, Laurel, Chili, rind of orange or lemon, Wild fennel, fennel seeds etc). Remember that olives must always be immersed in oil: you will need a plastic press.


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