Sweetwater Olives

Sweetwater Olives

We have a derelict old olive tree on the property. It's been neglected for many years, and I'm trying to get all the maple and bay trees that are growing around and up through it cut away and give the olives a chance to do their thing. In spite of it's "challenged" conditon, the tree has had lots of very small but delicious olives on it the last 2 years. Although the olives are small, the pits are small also so there's a lot more "meat" on them than one might expect. I picked a few pounds of them and brined them for several months and they turned out great!


Non-iodized salt


Pick ripe olives. Ours were mostly black when picked, but there were a few green or purple colored ones also. They all seem to taste the same.

Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit in the end of each olive so the brine can penetrate.

Put olives in a clean, food safe container with a lid.

Make a brine, consisting or 1/4 cup of non-iodized per quart of water. How much brine you need depends on how many olives you have and the size and shape of your container. The olives should be completely submerged in brine. For 11 pounds of olives (our last batch) it took about 1 gallon of brine solution (1 gal of water + 1 cup of salt) to cover them.

Make sure the olives are completely submerged in the brine. You may need to put a plate, or other clean object on top of the olives to weight them down and submerge any "floaters".

Every week you need to change the brine. Just pour out the old and pour in the new. At this time I also take a paper towel and clean any "scum" off of the sides of the container. The scum is harmless, it's just nice to remove it when you can.

After a month or two, taste an olive. If it's still bitter, continue brining. Ours seem to take about 3 to 4 months to get really good. And they ARE very good!