How to Preserve Olives

Why preserve olives when you can just go to the local grocer?  Well it is so easy to do, and the satisfaction is tremendous. Not to mention the cost savings.  Olives are in season now, and we are very fortunate in Sydney to be able to source nice local grown olives, both green and black.  So how to proceed?  The recipe below uses a brine to preserve the olives.


  • Fresh green olives
  • Water
  • Rock salt (sea salt)
  • Grape vine leaves or silicone paper
  • Herbs, for example bay leaves or rosemary, optional
  • Lemon slices or rind, optional


  1. Score each olive with a small serrated knife in 2-3 places. Place olives in a bowl and cover with water. Place a plate on top so that the olives are submerged.
  2. The next day, drain the water from the olives and replace with fresh water and cover again. Repeat for two days more.
  3. The next day, drain the water from the olives and measure it. This will give you an idea of the amount of brine required.
  4. Make a 10% brine solution. Take the same measured amount of fresh water and place in a saucepan. Add 1/3 cup (100g) of rock salt for each 4 cups (1 litre) of water. Heat the brine, and stir until the salt is dissolved. Leave to cool until cold.
  5. Add the olives to a jar (ideally glass). Do not overfill the jar. Add some herbs and lemon slices, if desired. Pour brine over olives and herbs to cover. Place a washed grape vine leaf or square of silicone paper over the olives. Ensure that the olives and grape leaves are submerged in the brine.
  6. Place in a cool dark place to mature for at least 8 weeks. It may take as longer, depending on the size of the olives.
  7. Remove grape leaf and cover with a thick layer of oil to preserve the olives.
  8. When ready to eat, remove a portion of olives from the jar, rinse olives and season with oil and vinegar.  Refrigerate.