Have you ever wanted to cure olives yourself?  

Read on!

Olives are perhaps the oldest cultivated fruit that we know of. With over 8000 years of documented history detailing the value, the need and the luxury of olives and its golden oil, an alien might think that curing olives is second hand for Earth's citizens.

Although we know that olive curing is not a common skill that the majority of humans have, many of us are curious about how it works. And if you’re lucky enough to have a tree that you can harvest, you might even put your skills to the test!

There are hundreds if not thousands of different recipes to curing olives, but we’re going to focus on a super simple and classic recipe.

The months September – November is when table olives are typically harvested. All olives start green, and the majority of them ripen to black.  

So the first decision you have to make is how do you want your olives to taste.

Olives straight from an olive tree are bitter.

If you’ve ever eaten an olive off a tree, you know that it is extremely bitter.  We cure olives, to rid them of this bitter phytochemical to make them more edible.

If you decide you want to cure green olives, the meat will be more firm and it will have more of this bitter phytochemical. While a more ripe olive will have a fleshier and buttery taste.

One thing to note!  That bitterness in olives and subsequently olive oil is a polyphenol called Oleuropein. Apparently “the scientists,” say that this stuff is some of the strongest antioxidants that we know of, showing strong protective action against several diseases including cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.

Food is Medicine!

Still, no matter how health enhancing the olives may be in their raw state – we’re still curing them!

So once you decide on the flavor you like, it’s fairly simple. You’ve got 3 days from harvesting your olives to get them started with the curing process.

In this video, Josh explains how to cure and brine homegrown olives in a jar. 

How to Cure your Olives -- Step-by-Step Guide

  • Once you’re home, wash the olives and discard any olives that look bruised or damaged and especially look out for the dreaded olive fly.  
  • The sign to look for is a little hole in the skin of the olives.
  • If you’ve got an olive that looks like someone broke through the ‘front door’, you’ve got some company on the inside. 
  • Place your olives underwater, weighed down with a plate, changing the water every day for up to 4 weeks.  
  • The bitterness will have leached out into the water, not gone, but significantly less.


Brining of olives is the fun part because you can do all kinds of things like add, orange juice, bacon bits, herbs, fruit, vinegar, etc. You can be as adventurous as you want with your brine. But the basics:

  • Mix ¼ cup sea or kosher salt into 4 cups of water and pour over a bowl of olives. You could also use a ½ cup of white wine vinegar, olive oil, or anything else you fancy.
  • Weigh them down with a plate and let them sit for 14 days. Drain the olives and repeat the same process, waiting a week and then changing the water. The brine will eventually mold and if it gets extra nasty, simply change the water before a week is up.
  • Start tasting your olives after 6 weeks and see what you think. They can take up to 6 months and sometimes more, so don’t be discouraged if your olives haven’t reached the taste you’re looking for, just continue the brining process.
  • Once finished, store in a mason jar with some brine, add some olive oil and some herbs and it will last like that for up to a year.

Easy as pie, right?!

So next time you’re trying to discreetly harvest olives from a neighbors tree and they come home earlier than expected, you can tell them with confidence that you were just going to surprise them with some of the most local olives they would ever taste.

Stay Healthy Friends!

Nuvo Olive OIl