Luigi’s Recipe for Pickling Green Olives

from Eugene Formato ˜ 1995

Don’t be rough when handling and pickling the olives; any bruising will show up in the final product.

Weigh olives and remember their weight, for future reference.

Select an appropriate plastic contained and use this for the whole process; tipping from one container to another bruises the olives.

Immerse olives in fresh water; then let the water run through them for about 5 minutes, just to clean them

Make up a solution of caustic soda and water with 20 gms/litre of salt. Dissolve one tablespoon of soda for every litre of water. Enough of this solution should be made to adequately cover the olives, usually about 1 litre of water per kilo of olives. Keep the olives under the solution (with a plate or something similar) to prevent the olives from going brown.

Keep the olives in this solution for 5 hours, then discard the liquid and run fresh water through them (keep them in the same container) until most of the water is reasonably clean; 4 or 5 rinses should be enough to get most of the brown out of the water.

By now a lot of the bitterness should be out of the olives. Top up the olives with fresh water, and cover again to prevent oxidation.

Change the water hourly for the next 4 or 5 hours, noting less and less browning of the water

Immerse olives in a brine solution made up of 100gms of salt per litre of water. Cover the olives and leave this solution for a week. At the end of the week, the olives should have no more bitterness. This is a matter of taste and, if you feel they are still too bitter, throw away the whole brine solution and put them into a new solution for a few more days. Remember though, that the sweetening process will continue even after they are permanently stored.

Once this first part of the process is complete, throw away the liquid and store the olives in 1 or 2 litre containers using new brine solution. The ratio of salt to water is maintained; apparently this discourages nasties by promoting the production of small amounts of lactic acid. If the process has been carried out properly, the olives will keep for a year or two and never need refrigeration.

Brine Mixtures


100 gms of salt per a quarter cup of vinegar per litre of water

Cover olives well with brine solution, add a touch of oil to the top, this helps to keep the oxygen out. The olives may be eaten after a couple of weeks but they get better with age. The top of the olives may develop a little film on top of the solution; but this is harmless; just wash the olives before use.


As above, but add a few cloves of garlic into the brine. Don’t chop the cloves up; the garlic taste may be too strong after a few months.