Pickled chilli olives

“In a Lebanese household, you always have olives and a tin of chickpeas on hand so you can whip up a spread for unexpected guests,” says Ramona.

1 Slice freshly picked olives lengthwise, as soon as possible after picking, and cut right to the pip; a scalpel blade works well. Place in fresh water for 18 days and make sure to change the water daily.

2 Allow the olives to stand in brine for five days. To make brine, dissolve 750g salt in 4L of water and cool. Remember to stir your olives every day.

3 Next, place the brined olives in a vinegar solution (mix 3L vinegar for every 1L of water) for five days. Make sure that the olives are covered. Again, stir the olives daily.

4 Now place the olives in sterilised glass bottles and fill with a new brine solution made with 100g salt dissolved in 1L warm water and then cooled.

5 Flavour with your choice of hardy herbs such as thyme, bay leaf, a chilli or two, lemon peel, orange peel and blanched garlic. Seal the jar with a layer of olive oil and let it stand for at least a month to mature.

Take the short cut!
Rinse 500ml store-bought olives and marinate them in a mixture of 125ml olive oil and 60ml red wine vinegar flavoured with 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 chopped chilli, a strip of citrus peel and a couple of lemon or bay leaves and allow it to marinate overnight. Delicious!

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April 2023

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