Fresh picked olives are typically hard and bitter. Curing is what removes the bitterness. Once olives are cured, they can be stored with flavorings such as lemon, oregano, garlic, and more. Salt cured olives are a delicacy and it is easy to do.
Dry Salt Cure — In this method, freshly picked olives are placed between layers of sea salt and cured over several weeks. To begin, choose glass jars with lids and layer olives with coarse sea salt. Every day for three weeks, shake or stir well and add more salt to absorb the juices. Rinse a few olives and taste test for bitterness. Continue the curing process if bitterness remains, otherwise, add warm water to cover and 4 tablespoons of good quality red wine vinegar, and top with a layer of olive oil. They will be ready to eat after 4-5 days.
Brine Cure — This method is great for black olives and can take up to 8-10 weeks before eating. To begin, with a sharp knife, make a cut in the olive from the top to bottom without cutting the pit. In a shallow pan or glass dish, soak the olives in brine (1 part salt to 10 parts water) taking care that the olives are completely covered with brine. You may need to use something to weigh the olives down, as they’ll like to float to the top, and cover pan. Cure the olives for 3 weeks, shaking the pan each day and changing the brine each week, then taste for bitterness (they could take up to 5-6 weeks depending on the olives). When they taste the way you want, place in jars with brine (1 part sea salt to 10 parts water), add 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and top with a layer of olive oil.