This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Round Two

November 8th, 2012

Last year I purchased a box of black mission olives from Chaffin Family Orchard to cure. I tried a few different curing methods and found that the Kalamata style fermented olives were my favorite. No surprise there since Kalamatas are my favorite kind of olive. At first I was skeptical that they’d turn out, curing olives seems like it should be harder than it is. When I tasted my first one I knew I’d be curing my own olives for the rest of my life.

This year I decided to add green olives to my curing routine. A large box was ordered from Chaffin Family Orchard and it arrived last Saturday. These are much larger than the mission olives so they don’t take as long to cut for curing. Last year I felt like I was cutting for ages, but these only took about an hour to get all the olives in their respective soaking liquids.

If you don’t like olives, make sure you try traditionally cured ones before your write them off completely. I never liked olives when my only experience was with those little black rounds that come from a can. Then I tasted my first Kalamata and was hooked. Don’t even let me near one of those olive bars at the fancy grocery stores!

I saved a few olives out hoping to make a how-to video. Curing olives is one of those things that is intimidating but is actually really simple. Hopefully I can encourage more people to try it at home. Not only are they delicious and healthy, you can save some serious money curing your own olives! I’ll happily spend a few hours curing 20 pounds of olives so I can eat organic olives all year long. I also know a few people who would love to receive olives as gifts.

Olives – love them or leave them? Which is your favorite kind/color?

28 Comments to “Round Two”
  1. kristin @ going country on November 8, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Olives–eh. I can take them or leave them, although mostly leave them. I find them much, much too salty to eat alone usually, although I do like them when combined with other things.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. Kelly H. on November 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Love them. Loved green for the longest time until I was introduced to black. I’m interested in seeing your video…

    Reply to Kelly H.'s comment

  3. Erin on November 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Ok I want to order a box of raw olives NOW. I adore olives, but have recently cut them from our budget. This, however, makes so much sense. And I’m a long-time reader but have never commented, so that should tell you how much I love olives. :)
    Also, a belated welcome to Maine! I’m in southern ME, and it’s such a great place to live.

    Reply to Erin's comment

  4. Wendy on November 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Hmmmmmm one of those wouldn’t be your sister would it?? :)

    Hannah & Heidi hope they aren’t on the olive receiving list!:)

    Sending smiles — the kids say hello!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  5. Rhonda on November 8, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Ohhhhhh man, I LOVE olives!! Greek, Spanish, Italian … it doesn’t matter, I love them. My favorites are Kalamata but I also like the large, cracked olives and the oil cured ones. Yum yum….

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. Songbirdtiff on November 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I love olives, too, and my son will eat them by the handful. I’m eager to hear how you cure them. That’s something I would gladly attempt myself.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  7. whit on November 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I ditto Kelly H.’s sentiments! Can’t wait to see your video.

    I am an olive hound! Love, love, love them. I am that person that puts ten on my fingertips as a delivery device, just like kids do. Any olive will do. I really liked the mild, salty flavour of niçqous (sp?) paired with greens.

    I just purchased an olive tree to grow in our greenhouse, and hoping for the day to pick enough to make my first jar of homemade.

    Reply to whit's comment

  8. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on November 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Olives? I am … slightly partial to olives. Just a little bit. It isn’t a totally crazy obsession, honestly. Ahem.

    Kalamata were my favourites for a long time until I tried some Sicilian ones at an excellent Italian restaurant and now it has become my life goal to find a supply of good Sicilian olives. They were a deep apple green, with a meaty texture but fruity flavour. Yum!

    It’s really hard to find decent olives around here – olives are everywhere but they’re all boring/bland ones that shops/restaurants try to make exciting with gimmicky fillings or marinade. I think I’ll probably have to try a bulk order and curing myself – would love to hear more about your method :)

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

  9. Maybelline on November 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Leave ’em. In California, olive trees are removed from orchards prior to development then used in landscapes. Unfortunately, the homeowner doesn’t know to spray the tree at blossom time to prevent the fruity mess. Olives (& citrus) are left to waste on the ground.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  10. Emily on November 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Ditto everything Erin said. I am in southern Maine, too! Welcome :) I am looking forward to learning how you cure them. I am curious about the cost per pound raw, as well.

    Reply to Emily's comment

    • Susy on November 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      The box contains about 17-18 lbs of green and I think my box of black mission olives had 20 lbs. They are $39.99 for the box and that includes shipping, so they end up costing around $2-$2.50/lb for organic olives. The curing costs are not high at all, mostly salt and sometimes some vinegar depending on your method of curing.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Emily on November 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

        Affordable and healthier. I am going to try this. Thank you for sharing!

        to Emily's comment

      • Emily on November 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

        Affordable and healthy. I am going to try this. Thank you for sharing!

        to Emily's comment

  11. Donna B. on November 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Oh Susy! I’ll be thoroughly awaiting a walkthrough of curing olives!
    I loooove just snacking on them with some pita chips, but I hate spending almost $10.00 on something I can devour in days… hehe.
    [I do end up using the brine/oil mixture afterwards as a marinade for protein! It’s delicious…]

    And I am a huge fan of green olives with garlic inside. Yumyumyum! I’m salivating at the thought right now! hee hee.

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  12. Heather on November 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I love kalamatas! Can we see a picture of the olives post-curing?

    Reply to Heather's comment

  13. Joan on November 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Those small black oil cured ones that are all shriveled up… Delicious! I’m not sure what they are called – ‘Moroccan’ maybe?

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on November 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      I made some of those too, we liked them as they’re very intense.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. JuratBernard on November 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! i never liked olives until i went to spain. now i can’t get enough of them! However, I only buy the ones from a local middle eastern store and then i dump the oil or water out and soak with a recipe a friend from Palestine uses or the one my father-in-law uses (he’s from Spain). the olives in the regular grocery stores are aweful even in the deli section!! can’t wait to try and cure my own! thanks for the idea!

    Reply to JuratBernard's comment

  15. Mich on November 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    run screaming from a bowl of olives…deffo leave them! lol

    Reply to Mich's comment

  16. Rebecca on November 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Well, crazypants. I just bought a box of olives. Talk about things I had no idea I’d be doing today/recently/ever. I just started canning in January, and I’m pretty confident I can brine me some olives. I was always fine with canned, but in the past few years I’ve had olives almost solely from those nice olive bars, and now the canned taste like… can. So, thanks! And if they don’t turn out, I guess my chickens will have a midwinter feast.

    Reply to Rebecca's comment

  17. KimH on November 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I never met an olive I didnt adore.. even stuffed with stinky cheese. ;) (Im not a stinky cheese fan, obviously)

    The house I was born & raised at had a small olive grove but I honestly dont ever remember eating them. Maybe they saved them for the adults or gave em to friends.. I do remember I used to play under the trees when my dad was pruning them. That I remember very well.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  18. Lisa M on November 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I would love to see a video on this. My boys and I LOVE olives (hubby can take ’em or leave ’em). Never even thought about doing this. Fabulous idea! A mom could go broke with 2 boys who love to hit the olive bar as much as she does. Think I better learn this skill.
    We love to have our olives stuffed with a clove of garlic.

    Reply to Lisa M's comment

  19. elizabeth on November 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I hope you do another post on this soon. I’d like to order olives, green and black and brine them.

    Reply to elizabeth's comment

  20. Chris on November 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I bought these same olives last fall for home curing and did the everyday change of water for at least a month before putting them to brine…even after several months of brining, they were still too bitter to eat. I’ll be interested to know how yours turn out. I used the brining method that Chaffin Orchard recommended because I did not want to use lye….Maybe should of tried the kalamatas instead! Good luck!!

    Reply to Chris's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      I’m trying a few different methods. I have an old method as well that uses wood ash as the lye. I might try that.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  21. Sincerely, Emly on November 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Love them! In fact I planted a Lucca Olive tree this spring and bought a second one (Arbequina – really small olives) at the same time, but needed to pot it up and get it more established before I planted it. I just planted it this past Sunday. I know I have about 4-5 years to wait, but until then, I may order some of olive from your source to start with. When I lived in Palm Springs I always intended to cure olives (like Mabelline mentioned, the trees are planted in landscapes and the olives go to waste!) A friend finally got around to curing some this last year and LOVED them. It will be fun to see your video when you get it made. Thanks for all the information you share with us!

    Reply to Sincerely, Emly's comment

  22. Chris on November 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Hi again! Do you mind sharing your olive recipe with the wood ash or the other one you used?? I would really like to try these again using a different method..I also noticed that they are offering the black, olives now for curing…maybe those won’t be so bitter!
    If you wouldn’t mind replying to my e-mail address, I would really appreciate it…just a little quicker than going back through all the previous posts but if you’d rather not…I understand!

    Reply to Chris's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Around the Run

On Cultivate Simple, our podcast, we have an Around the Run section each week. In this section we talk about...