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Sue’s Olive Pickling Recipe – Sue McDougall

Olives_marinated_webA friend commented on the amount of olives that I had on my tree but I told him that I just didn’t have the time to pickle them that year.  Being of Italian descent he was horrified and told me he would take some and do his family’s recipe and that it was so quick that I would be eating them in only a few days and the added bonus was that they could be frozen.

“Go for it,” was my response.  I didn’t believe that frozen olives would be good to eat but I definitely had to eat my words a week later. The olives came back, firm, tasty and great for eating and I have been hooked ever since.

Sue’s Olive Pickling Recipe
(Courtesy of the Macri Family)

Pick the olives when they are green and squash or bash the olives with with something heavy to remove the stone.  This takes the longest time and the family will be enthusiastic for the first 10 minutes but gradually they disappear to more exciting tasks.  You don’t have to remove the stones at this age if you would prefer to keep them in.

Rinse the fruit to remove any small bits and pour boiling water over the top with a cup of salt to every 10 cups of water. Completely submerge all fruit with a weighted plate or dish.

Rinse and replace the brine water every 24 hours for 4 to 5 days.  Check for bitterness, if not ready yet keep soaking them for another few days.   I have found the higher the oil content of the olives the longer it takes to get the bitterness out.  When the fruit isn’t bitter anymore, rinse the salt water.  At this stage they can be bagged and frozen or they also keep in the fridge for many weeks.

To prepare the olives for eating add quality olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, chilli and a little crunchy sea salt and rosemary.  Let them marinade in this solution for a couple of hours and they will be superb to eat.


Written by Sue McDougall, a qualified horticulturalist and experienced garden centre owner who grew up in the WA wheatbelt and has had experience in gardening throughout the entire state.  You may know Sue as the garden expert on 6PR radio and by her many TV appearances.

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