How To Cure Olives In Salt Brine
Last year, I made cured olives for the first time. Some with scratching with knife, some with cracking with stone. Both are prepared in the same way. The only difference is that the cracked olive is cracked and the scratched olive is scratched. Although it may seem like they both taste the same because they are prepared in the same way, they don't. Cracked olives are far more delicious. That's why I first wanted to share the recipe for cracked olives.
I have little experience in olive making, but I did so much research and reading and got such a good result in my first attempt that I have high confidence in this subject. I have a lot to tell about olive curing. So I'll start right away.
The first stage of olive making is cracking the olives. If you have the opportunity to work outdoors, it's great. Otherwise, you need to be a little careful at this stage. Because when cracking the olives, the water/oil splashes around and stains. Therefore, if you are doing this indoors, choose clothes that will not be a problem to stain and take care not to keep items that will be a problem to stain. If you have, you can crack them with a clean stone, if not, you can break them with a jar. Just take an olive on a cutting board, then hit it with a stone or jar. They will crack right away. You have to throw the olives you have cracked into water with the addition of salt and lemon juice immediately. Otherwise, there may be blackening at the broken points. Don't panic if this happens, it's just a visual thing, it won't affect the flavor or consistency.
Extracting the Bitterness of Olives
In order to get rid of the bitterness of the olives, the water is changed every day for 15-20 days and kept at room temperature. I've seen that 10 days is usually recommended for this period. But even though I changed the water twice a day, I did not see the slightest glimmer of hope in 10 days. On the 15th day, some of them were still bitter, and some of them were sweetened. On the 20th day, the bitterness was completely gone. From the 10th day, you can check if the bitterness is gone by tasting them every day.
If you are not going to brine the olives immediately, you can store them for months without changing the water, in the water you add first, thanks to the protection of its own bitterness. When you decide to make brine, it will be enough to change the water every day until the bitterness goes away.
Calculating Brine Salt Ratio for Olive Curing
First of all, let's start the brining with how to adjust the salt amount of the brine. Our formula is as follows;
Amount of salt (kg) = amount of water X percentage of desired salt concentration /100
Fermentation occurs faster at low salt concentration and slower at high salt concentration. Very low salt concentration will not prevent the formation of undesirable organisms. High salt concentration, on the other hand, prevents the formation of lactic acid bacteria and causes the growth of undesirable aerobacteria. Bacteria desired to be formed are lactic acid bacteria and lactic acid bacteria are resistant to salt concentrations up to 10%. Therefore, it is important that the salt concentration should be neither too much nor too low, but as it should be. The salt concentrations required for different olive varieties differ. For example, while the ideal salt concentration for green olives is 8%, a salt concentration of 10% is required for black olives.
Let's calculate how much salt we need to use for 2 litres of water prepared for use for green olives;
Amount of salt = 2 (amount of water) X 8 (percentage of desired salt concentration) /100
For 2 litres of water, you need to use 0.16 kg or 160 g of salt.
Keeping Salt Consistent
We mix salt and water and put the olives aside. Is it enough? Of course not. The salt added to the brine sinks to the bottom of the jar as it waits. For this reason, in order for all the olives in the jar to be equally fermented, the jar should be shaken at regular intervals.
Since the olives put in the brine will absorb some of the salt in the brine within a few days, the salt content of the brine decreases. To compensate for this, 1-2% salt should be added on the second or third day of the brine.
Olive Brine Ph Control
Although brine is very important when making olives, there is another thing that is at least as important as the pH level. Since olive is such a precious and expensive ingredient that it will not accept failure, I bought a pH meter last year and prepared the olive in a controlled manner in order not to take risks in this regard, and I was very comfortable throughout the process.
When you first prepare brine, the pH level will be 7. Measurement should be made frequently in the first days until the pH drops to 6. After the pH drops to 4.5 (which is the vanishing point of gram negative bacilli), the measurement frequency is reduced. If the pH does not decrease to 6 within 2 weeks, citric acid should be added. If the fermentation is successful, the pH will be between 3.8-4 at the end of the fermentation.
Use of Sugar in Olive Brine
Sugar is the main food source for microorganisms that provide fermentation. The acid formed by these microorganisms using sugar prevents the olives from spoiling and ensures their maturation. The required sugar ratio in olive brine is 0.5-0.8%.
Flavorings and Preservatives in Olive Production
Among the ingredients used in olive making, the most well-known preservative is undoubtedly citric acid. But citric acid alone does not provide protection. The vine or mulberry leaves used in the recipe also have protective properties and prevent the olives from softening. While chickpea supports fermentation, it also prevents olives from softening.
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaves and lemon slices are used to flavor the recipe. You may not use it if you wish, but if you do, you will get delicious olives.
Enjoy the recipe...
- 2 kg of green olives,
- 2 litres of water,
- 180 g of brine salt,
- 2 teaspoons of sugar,
- 1 tablespoon of citric acid,
- 1 handful of chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds,
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds,
- 3 bay leaves,
- 2 slices of lemon,
- Juice of 1/2 lemon,
- 5-6 mulberry or vine leaves,
- Extra brine salt.
- Fill half of a 3-litre jar with water, add a tablespoon of brine salt and the juice of 1/2 lemon and dissolve,
- Crack the olives with a stone or a jar and throw them into the water immediately,
- If the water is not enough after putting all the olives in the jar, add enough water to cover the olives,
- Put a bowl or plastic bag on it so that the olives are completely submerged in the water,
- Close the lid of the jar loosely,
- Pour the juice of the olives once or twice a day for 15-20 days and fill again (add a tablespoon of salt and dissolve if you are not bothered),
- After the color of the olives has completely changed and their bitterness is gone, pour the water again,
- Put chickpeas, mustard and cumin seeds and bay leaves at the bottom of a clean jar of the same size,
- Fill the olives in the jar,
- Mix 2 litres of water, 160 g brine salt, sugar and lemon salt in a bowl until they dissolve,
- Fill the brine juice into the olive jar,
- Push the lemon slices to the sides of the jar,
- Cover them with grapevine or mulberry leaves and close the lid,
- After two days, remove the lemon slices,
- Add 20 g brine salt,
- Close the lid and leave for another week.