Experimental Homestead

Making Sicilian Style Fermented Green Olives

big, lively, acidic, rich tasting olives, oh yeah!

big, lively, acidic, rich tasting olives, oh yeah!



I’m going to tell you how to make delicious fermented green olives by the easiest curing method I know of.  One of my many long term projects has been curing olives.  I started because I love them and because they were too expensive for me to eat in the quantities I wanted to.  I figured I could turn those olives growing all over California into something tasty.  Some 20 plus years later, I have a pretty good grasp on the subject.  I’m headed to an olive tasting event this weekend, the Olive Odyssey organized by olive curing champion Don Landis.  I was going to print up recipe cards for sicilian style olives, but thought I’d just save paper and send people here instead.  Besides, now people can bump into this awesome recipe on the web!

What’s so cool about this recipe?  Lotsa stuff.  It is perhaps the easiest curing recipe I know for olives.  There is no maintenance to speak of.  There is no leaching with lye, or water, nor anything else.  You stick ’em in a jar with brine, seal it up, leave it for months and open one when you are ready to eat them.  And of course they taste hella good homeslice!  Big fat juicy, lively, acidic, rich tasting olives… oh yeah.

The downside?  You have to be patient!  Wait, that’s good for you, so get over it!  Oh, and I only know one olive common in California that is really good for this process.  If you’re lucky enough to have access to this olive though, you’ve got a gold mine of potential hanging on those trees in the fall. Continue reading


February 14, 2014 Posted by | Food and Drink Making, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts, Recipes! | , , | 9 Comments

Canning Tomatoes: How I do it and why it works for me.

canned tomato header



Tomato season is finally on here at 1800 feet in coastal Northern California.  Having just mentioned canning tomatoes in the Mega Canner post, as well as also having recently been enjoying my few remaining jars of them, it occurred to me that my method of canning tomatoes might be of some use to other people.  Over the years, I gradually devolved toward a very simple tomato canning system that is not too much work and leaves me with a very versatile product.

My mom made tomato sauces and such, but what I really remember was the whole canned tomatoes.  I would sometimes beg a jar of them, open it, and just eat them out of the jar with a fork.  Yum, they were so good!  Home canned tomatoes are so much better than store bought!!!  I don’t care what brand you buy, there is just no comparison, because the commercial tomatoes are always bred for processing rather than flavor, and are harvested too early… just what we should expect from an industrial model.  One day I was thinking about what I wanted to eat.  I thought spaghetti sounded good.  I got the pasta water going, got the pasta cooking, saute’ed some onions and ground meat, then rummaged in the cupboard.  NOOOOO!!!! I was out of home canned tomatoes!  I was already salivating and could taste those yummy sweet tomatoes as they oozed into the spaces between the noodles, topped with slowly melting shreds of Asiago cheese.  But wait, there was a can of storebought tomatoes, that would have to do.  Nope, they were soooooo lame!  Total buzzkill :-/

Since horking down cans of my moms tomatoes at 12, I have sometimes made sauces and paste, but anymore I only can whole peeled tomatoes.  Aside from fond memories, the main reason I do so is versatility.  I don’t have to figure how many cans of sauce I’ll use, or what kind of sauce I want to make, or anything like that.  My whole canned tomatoes can be reduced to small pieces in the jar with a butter knife in a matter of seconds, or tossed in the blender to make pizza sauce, dropped whole into a casserole, or dumped straight into a pot of minestrone.  I can use them in Asian food, Mexican, Italian etc and so on.  There are no skins to get in the way, and the extra juice in the jar tastes amazing with a splash of hot sauce, perfect to sip on as an appetite stimulant while cooking, or as a treat to share with someone. Continue reading

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Food and Drink Making, Garden Stuff, Recipes! | , , , , , | 13 Comments