Water curing gently removes oleuropein, a component in olives that gives them a sharp, bitter taste.
Step 1: Buy fresh Fairview Orchards organic olives.
Step 2: Wash and inspect the olives for holes and bruises.
Step 3: Break the olives. In order for the water to be able to reach the insides of the olives, you'll need to break or slit the olives to let the moisture in. You can do this with a wooden mallet or small knife.
Step 4: Place the olives in glass or ceramic container with lid and cover with cold water. Completely cover all of the olives with water, making sure none are poking out. You may need to weigh them down with a plate to keep them from floating above the surface of the water. Place the cover loosely over the olives and put the container in a cool, dark place.
Step 5: Change out the water at least once a day with fresh, cold water. Make sure you don't forget, otherwise bacteria could build up in the water and taint the olives. To change the water, just strain the olives through a colander, wash the pot, replace the olives and fill it back up with cold water. Continue the process for about 4 weeks and taste an olive to see if the bitterness is at a level you like. If it is, the olives are ready; if you want the olives to be less bitter, continue changing the water daily for a few more weeks. Taste an olive again before moving on.
Step 6: Make a finish brine. This is the solution that the olives will be stored in. It's a mixture of pickling salt, water and vinegar that will both preserve the olives and give them a delicious pickled taste. To make the brine, mix the following (makes enough for 10 pounds of olives):
1 gallon (3.8 L) cool water
1 1/2 cups pickling salt
2 cups white wine vinegar
Step 7: Drain the olives and place them in a glass or ceramic storage container. Wash and dry the storage container thoroughly before placing the olives inside. Leave one inch of space at the top of the container.
Step 8: Cover the olives with the brine. Place the lid on the container and store the olives in the refrigerator. You may add any aromatics to flavor the brine from lemon peel, rosemary sprigs, roasted garlic, or crushed red pepper.