Olives Two Ways – Part 2: Dry Salt-Cured

Dry salt-cured olives

Last year I posted a recipe for preparing olives in brine – and I must say they came out well! This is another method of curing olives and the end result is totally different, although also delicious.

Salt-cured olives come out with a very intense, salty and actually slightly sweet flavour, and are great to add punch to dishes, especially Mediterranean-style recipes. You can also eat them straight up – I can personally only manage 2 or 3 at a time though as they’re so salty and intense (as opposed to, say, 10 or 20 at a time of brined olives).

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Nasturtium Pesto

Nasturtium pesto

Nasturtium pesto might sound a bit strange, but if you like the slightly bitter taste of nasturtium leaves (or rocket/arugula, if you’ve never tasted nasturtium leaves), you’ll love it. In fact the basic recipe is very similar to that of traditional basil pesto, only we’re varying the leaves.

Traditional pesto can be pricey though, which is not surprising given some of its original ingredients – parmesan cheese and pine nuts, neither of which is particularly cheap. Luckily, you can create something that tastes quite similar using more reasonably-priced ingredients, in this case, cheddar cheese (leave this out if you want a vegan or pure paleo version) and toasted sunflower seeds.

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Olives Two Ways – Part 1: Brined

Who doesn’t love olives? Actually I know some people who don’t but I can’t understand that at all. When I was growing up, we used to count them out on to everyone’s plate when serving up salad with dinner, to make sure no-one got more than their fair share. A sad but true story.

A happier story is that not only are olives delicious, but they’re also really good for you, being high in healthy fats as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals, not to mention anti-oxidants. For more on their health benefits, see here, here and here, just for starters.

The thing with olives though is that they’re very more-ish and a bottle really doesn’t last very long, plus they’re expensive (here in South Africa anyway). So years ago when a friend told me she could get fresh olives direct from an olive farm, I jumped at the chance to make my own and ordered 5kg.

Since then, I’ve made a batch every year I’ve been able to get my hands on some, which sadly hasn’t been every year but certainly many of them. Those years I enjoy eating them till they’re coming out my ears and they also make great gifts to give away.

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Preserved Cucumbers

Naturally preserved cucumbers

I’ve got a bit of a thing for preserves at the moment – salted lemons, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and even limoncello (hint: look out for these coming attractions right here on Inspired Nourishment). Today I thought I’d share a very simple recipe for naturally preserved cucumbers, which are my latest ‘have with everything’ condiment.

I first came across the recipe some time ago on Mark’s Daily Apple  while doing research for a paleo article I was writing for someone else. What grabbed my attention was the very interesting fact that when you preserve vegetables this way, not only are they crunchy and delicious, but they’re also packed with probiotics and therefore great for the digestive system, especially if you’ve recently been on a course of antibiotics (something I try to avoid at all costs). And in case you’re wondering, they’re different from store-bought gherkins as they don’t use vinegar (which kills those helpful probiotics) and they taste salty rather than tangy. As my attention was elsewhere at the time, I saved the recipe on one of my Pinterest boards for later use.

The most difficult part of this process is actually finding the baby cucumbers, which are often called Israeli cucumbers here in South Africa. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can apparently use just about any kind of fairly hardy vegetable, like carrots, cabbage, radishes or broccoli. I haven’t yet tried any of those so can’t personally vouch for them, although I’ve seen them in various health shops and there are plenty of recipes online. Continue reading