Olives: the best in the world – made by you
I love olives! Fino and olives are a marriage made in heaven – I struggle to enjoy one without the other. Glistening green crunchy olives are served to you in practically every bar here alongside your wine, beer and Sherry. It’s a lunchtime and early evening taste explosion – Fino or Manzanilla with olives. It’s a glad to be alive sensation.
Just now in Andalucia, olives are being harvested for curing, as well as for pressing. You’ll see vendors on street corners of Vejer or just outside the markets of bigger cities like Jerez selling kilos of rock hard freshly picked olives for taking home to work your magic.
Preparing your own is SO easy and you will LOVE the results.
The first thing to do is to arm yourself with containers big enough to hold all the olives you want to deal with. Big plastic jars are good but anything will do. Even a plastic pail with a lid (new pref, not despúes nappies). Then go and find your olives. My last lot were bought just outside the main entrance to Jerez market – I figured they would already come with a lick of Fino infused air.
Alongside my guy was a machine to crack them. Otherwise, I would have to crack them all at home by smashing each one with a stone or hammer or even making a small cross on each with a sharp knife. Man with machine is preferable. The cut is very important . It means the liquid can penetrate the hard bitter flesh and start to tenderise. Don’t worry if they start to change colour.
Once home, fill containers with olives and cover with water. You need to change the water every day for 6 days – draining away every part of the old to be replaced with fresh.
On the 7th day, leave the olives in a draining colander whilst you make a salty solution in the containers. You need to add enough salt to the fresh water to keep a whole egg in its shell afloat. This is your brine. Remove the egg (just in case you were wondering!) and start to replace the olives into the containers, adding your flavourings as you go along. Lemon slices, garlic cloves, fennel seeds, chilli and sprigs of oregano are my favourite. You can add bay leaves too.
A good splash of vinegar will stop any mould from forming on top but no worries if not. The mould is good – think of it like the FLOR on top of Fino and Manzanilla.
Now the hard part – you need to leave them for 4 – 6 weeks…