This summer we made our annual trip to The Olive Pit in Corning, on our way up to Oregon, and discovered that they had fresh olives for sale. At the time I felt silly buying a five pound bag of inedible fruit with absolutely no knowledge of how to process it, but as time went by I started to regret not making the purchase. Lucky for me, our local market had a small box of olives last week, and I snatched them up! As it turned out, our kitchen remodel (specifically the lack of a sink) held up my experiment for a few days, but this afternoon I was finally able to begin the brining process.
Having done a bit of research, it's really quite easy to pickle your own olives. All you need to do is let them ferment in a salt solution for three to six months. The recipe I am following requires me to change the brine every day for 20 days, and then once a month for 3 months before the olives are ready to eat. According to the friendly farmers at Milkwood, who have a fantastic instructional video available here, the more often the brine is changed, the faster the olives will ferment, so I like that this recipe calls for so much changing. The Milkwood recipe only asks you to change the brine once a month, but it also allows up to 9 months for fermentation, and I am just not that patient! At the rate I am going, my olives will be ready to eat in March, and I can't wait!