Olives Two Ways – Part 2: Dry Salt-Cured


Olives Two Ways - Part 2: Dry Salt-Cured

  • Servings: 1kg
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Dry salt-cured olives



  • 1kg fresh raw Kalamata olives
  • ±300g coarse sea salt (not fine table salt)
  • 1-2T olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary or thyme, chopped (optional)


Wash the olives very well to get rid of any dust. Then slit each olive once down to the pip to help release the bitter juices.

Place the olives in a large, clean piece of natural fabric like muslin or cheesecloth. Sprinkle the coarse salt over and mix it well into the olives.

Gather up the edges of the fabric and secure them with an elastic band or piece of string. If you have somewhere you can tie the whole thing up and leave it there, do that. I usually put mine into a colander. Either way, you’ll need a plate or bowl underneath to catch the liquid as the olives start to cure.

Leave them from 3 – 6 weeks in the salt, shaking the bag around every day or so and occasionally opening it up to stir it, so the salt doesn’t all drop to the bottom but stays fairly evenly distributed throughout the olives. Over time, you’ll notice the olives start to look a bit wrinkly – this is a good sign.

After about 3 weeks, taste one (wash off the salt first). If it’s still bitter, leave them longer. Eventually they’ll start to look a LOT wrinkly and actually taste a bit sweet, which is when they’re pretty much ready.

At this point, brush off as much of the salt as you can. You can also rinse them if you like – just briefly though. Don’t leave them in the water, and do leave them out to dry completely before you bottle.

Then place the olives in clean bottles, and sprinkle with chopped herbs.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the olives in each bottle, and toss them around a bit so they all get a light coating of oil. This helps to preserve them and they then keep well in the fridge (although the olive oil might solidify a bit) for several months .

Use just a few at a time as they’re very salty and intensely flavoured. I like to use them, de-pipped and cut into small pieces, in Mediterranean-style dishes like pizza, pasta and home-made tomato salsa. They also work well in dips and other sauces, or just straight up, as a snack.


© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2016