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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Green Olives Italian Style

My fondest memories from my visits to Grandma & Grandpa Carbone's House all seem to revolve around the delicious food they always prepared for us.  You simply couldn't visit Grandma & Grandpa without eating something.  They were certainly the quintessential Italian couple - they were truly happy when they were feeding someone!  Grandma always seemed to have fresh-baked bread, biscotti and spaghetti sauce in abundance and she generally sent you home with a bit of this and a bit of that too.  I remember the waxed sandwich bags she filled with Biscotti and the tiny loaves of bread she often made - just to share.  My kitchen cupboards been blessed with a wonderful stock of Grandma's bread pans (ALL sizes), cast iron skillets, a dutch oven I remember her using for spaghetti sauce (my favorite for the same task to this day) and my dining room is home to the large dining table (we had the chairs too, but they are gone now) where the whole family would sit down to eat on holidays and special occassions.  I know many people who don't enjoy even spanish style green olives, much less any of the more bitter varieties such as Greek Kalamata olives, but Grandma had an olive connection and cured jars and jars of beautiful, jumbo, Green Italian olives.  I grew up eating them and I'll always remember seeing the jars of olives, jam and other preserves Grandma made stacked neatly on a shelf in their basement.  I've missed those olives, so I was very excited to find this recipe in the collection!  It's the recipe of Barbara Scornairnchi (not sure on the spelling folks, the writing is so small), and it's noted V.G. - of course! 

I've found a supplier of fresh olives online, here's the link:  .  Of course I don't really know what variety of olive Grandma used, so it will be a case of trial and error, but it's olive season right now, so I'm going to order some and give this recipe a try.  I'll be sure to post how it's going and the final results for you.

Green Olives Italian Style

Smash olives with pits. Soak in a crock or other large container for a period of 6-8 days, changing water everyday.  Test after the 6th day by taking a few & mixing with a little salt to see if they are "sweet" enough.

Make a brine of 1 gal. water to 1 cup table salt.  Boil 3-5 minutes.  Let cool.  Preferably make the brine the night before.

Mix the drained olives with 1 handful of oregano & chopped garlic, about 1/2 a head.

Pack loosely in jars & pour brine over them & then seal.  (10# olives)

Note:  1 gal. brine is just the right amount for 10# of olives.

Chris' Note:  I was glad to see Grandma's added note regarding the ratio of brine to olives. Penna sells their olives by the 10# box, so that's perfect!

Update - December 22, 2012 - We first tasted these olives back on Thanksgiving 2011 - and boy, were they bitter!  After that, I have to admit, I was afraid to give them another try.  However, on December 2, 2012, when a group of us got together to make Scalile, we decided to brave opening another jar and seeing if they had improved after more than a year.  I'm so glad we did!  They are quite tasty, no longer bitter, and instead having a nice, briney, garlicky flavor - nice and firm, we ate the entire jar and a couple more since.  We'll be taking a couple of jars with us to my niece's place for Christmas dinner and I hope to make another batch in fall of 2013!

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