• 1. green olives shopping list
  • 2. Lye shopping list
  • 3. Long rubber gloves, up to your elbow shopping list
  • 4. Goggles shopping list
  • 5. Scale shopping list
  • 6. Large spoon shopping list
  • 7. One gallon bucket, for measuring water, the red one is from Ace hardware. shopping list
  • 8. table salt (I buy 50 bags at Smart and Final) Of course for small batches, the salt from any grocery store will work. With or without iodine. shopping list
  • 9. Strainer bucket - The strainer bucket is my idea. I purchase it from a restaurant supply house, attached a handle at the bottom to make it easier to control and attached two plexiglass ears to keep the olives from spilling out. The olives pour beautifully with the ears. You can drill holes all over a five gallon if you can't get a strainer like in the pics. shopping list
  • 10. Plexiglass lid - Originally the recipe called for placing towels on the olives to keep the air from discoloring olives. I came up with the plastic lid, it should be 10 7/8 inches in diameter. The plastic lid is perfect. shopping list
  • 11. 5 gallon bucket, I purchased all orange buckets from Home Depot. These are dedicated to olive making. Buckets are rinsed when finished and placed in 55 gallon plastic bags until next season. shopping list
  • 12. Anyone who would like the printed recipe from the University of Davis can send me a fax number. shopping list

How to make it

  • 1. Caution the lye can cause severe burns if it touches your skin. Have vinegar at ready to neutralize the lye in case of accident. I feel it important to advise working with lye has its dangers. Use this recipe at your own risk. This recipe is from the University of Davis.
  • 2. Note, it is very hard to buy lye as it was taken off the retail market as drug makers where using it to make drugs. You have to go to a chemical supplier, show your drivers license, and state the use of the lye.
  • 3. Clean olives of stems and leaves and rinse
  • 4. Set up area to weigh lye
  • 5. Wear gloves and goggles
  • 6. Using the one gallon bucket, pour two gallons of water in the five gallon bucket
  • 7. Weigh out 5 1/2 ounces lye for two gallons of water
  • 8. Do not allow water to touch lye while weighing
  • 9. Exert extreme caution when weighing lye
  • 10. Carefully pour lye in the five gallon bucket
  • 11. Stir water and lye. The lye will heat up the water, it will be hot!!!!!!!
  • 12. Allow to cool for 15-30 minutes.
  • 13. Carefully pour 20 lbs of olives in water, stir.
  • 14. Carefully place plastic lid on olives. This prevents air from discoloring olives.
  • 15. Place lid on bucket.
  • 16. Using gloves, remove an olive after two days and cut a wedge. The olive should be green all the way to the pit. If there is white, carefully pour off lye water, make a new solution and check again in 24 hours. If still not green, another 24 hours should get the lye to the pit.
  • 17. Once you see green to the pit, pour olives with lye solution carefully off into the strainer bucket. Capture the used sly solution and neutralize with vinegar. Allow water to evaporate and put remaining residue in a covered bucket, there will be very little material that is harmless.
  • 18. Rinse 5 gallon bucket, fill with water to the top, pour about 2 gallons over the olives in the strainer bucket. You will see more dark color coming off the olives.
  • 19. With about three gallons of water still in the five gallon bucket, pour olives in the bucket. Stir, place plastic lid on olives, place lid on bucket.
  • 20. Wait 8-10 hours, pour olives back into strainer bucket, again rinse with two gallons, place back in bucket with water.
  • 21. Wait 24 hours. Repeat rinsing.
  • 22. Wait 8-10, repeat rinsing.
  • 23. Wait 8-10, repeat rinsing. At this point it is safe to place your bare hand in the water. To determine if the lye is totally removed, stir the olives with your hand, stirring all the way to bottom of the bucket. There should not be any kind of a slick feel, like soap. If any slickness, rinse again. Of course rinse your hand and arm after stirring and feeling the olives.
  • 24. Once the olives are free of any soapy feel, rinse once more.
  • 25. To store olives, place 3 cups of table salt per gallon of water and place two gallons of water in the bucket. Stir the water well to dissolve the salt. Put olives in the brine mixture, cover with plastic lid, and place the lid on the bucket. This ratio will make the olives very salty but allow them to stay preserved for a couple of months in cool weather. Best if kept under 70 degrees or less.
  • 26. To eat the olives, place an amount in a bowl of fresh water. Allow to sit overnight. Pour off water and taste olive. If too salty, repeat with new water until they are to your liking.
  • 27. Homemade olives are addictive, you can't eat one.
  • 29. Black olives in the can are really green olives just like from this recipe. Commercial canners use their own process of oxidation to turn the olives black. Yep black olives are green olives in disguise. They have to turn them black as various colors of green olives in a can would not be appealing to consumers, so they turn them black and everything is pretty. How about that!
Olives ready   Close
Close up   Close
In the bucket   Close
Plastic to cure   Close
Ready to cure   Close
Plastic lid   Close
Four buckets ready   Close
Weighing the Lye   Close
LYE!!!   Close
One gallon bucket   Close
All the stuff   Close
Buckets with lye   Close
Lye is working   Close
Finished Lye part   Close
Plastic floaters   Close
Numbered bucket   Close
Serious production   Close
Rabbit ears   Close
Another view of ears   Close
Helper handle   Close
Finished bucket   Close
Finished without plastic   Close
Finished close up   Close
Desalting   Close
Ready to eat   Close
Clsoe up ready to eat   Close
All gone   Close
The strainer bucket   Close

Reviews & Comments 20

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  • lexluv101 8 years ago
    Sounds intriguing. You're right on being careful with lye. All soap's made with lye so I use it for homemade soap for years, much gentler on the skin than commercial detergent soap (as long as you know what you're doing lol) I don't think I'd make the olives - not because of the lye since I'm used to working with it, just seems like so much work to me! I am lazy at heart :)
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  • huxter 8 years ago
    Wonderful and informative post with the photos so even a dolt like me could follow . I could even use the lye afterwards to clean off furniture in my furniture restoration business !!! No kidding ,thats what I use it for .
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag
    " It was excellent "
    notyourmomma ate it and said...
    Amazing post. Wow. Great photos as always.
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  • mintymommybee 9 years ago
    mmm, I love Graber Olives, they are like no othes I have ever tasted and are simply addictive but I can no longer find them here as the old woman who sold them passed on and ... well, I'm not going to be making these for another 15 years I am sure, as with these beautiful children hanging on my apron strings and legs and all ... but now I am really going to have to search and order some Grabers by mail!
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  • greekgirrrl 10 years ago
    excellent post
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    " It was excellent "
    cheryilyn ate it and said...
    interesting and great pictures too. thanks for the lesson.
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  • annieamie 10 years ago
    I always wondered how to cure an olive. Talk about an intense recipe! You're just too wonderful for taking the time to write all of this out for us. Thank you so very much. This is a very informative piece of work!
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  • thegoldminer 10 years ago
    That is just a little humor because I made so many. And yes, people want to buy them as they taste sooooooooooooooo good :-)
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  • erisgrrrl 10 years ago
    This was totally fascinating. It's like a home grown version of "Good Eats" meets "Dirty Jobs"!!

    I'm curious as to the reason behind the "production levels" - do you sell these?
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  • liezel 10 years ago
    Now I know why I don't eat olives! But very interesting to know how it's made. Keep on posting educational things like this. Good to know what is in your food and what is being used to complete some processes. Most of the time we eat stuff and don't read the labels and don't know what is actually inside. Keep it up!!!!
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  • thegoldminer 10 years ago
    I am glad most are learning from this post. Interesting that all those black olives in cans are just green olives like in my pics. Who would have known? JJ I make it sound serious and it is somewhat but if you follow instructions and be careful you too can have home made olives.
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    " It was just okay "
    chefmeow ate it and said...
    Wow, this is a very good and very informing post. Thanks for the info. I love olives and always wondered what process was taken to get those delightful little things tasting like they do.
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  • gingerlea 10 years ago
    A very eye opening education on making olives. Kinda scary now that I know what goes into making them. Of course one of my aunt's made laundry soap with lye and didn't eat up her clothes!!!! haha Want to thank you for teaching me something I never knew. Education at all levels is GREAT!!
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    " It was excellent "
    zena824 ate it and said...
    JJ this sounds interesting for sure....Thanks for sharing this with us.....
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  • thegoldminer 10 years ago
    This is a learning site also. It is good to know how things are made. Glad you enjoyed.
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    " It was excellent "
    frankieanne ate it and said...
    This is very interesting. Can't believe someone gave it one fork. Thanks for the post.
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  • thegoldminer 10 years ago
    It can be put here as it is a recipe. People have made olives like this for a very,very long time. The point is to show how it is done but advise it can be dangerous. I capture my lye and neutralize it with vinegar. It should not be poured down a drain.
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  • modmom50 10 years ago
    thanks for a most interesting post. I have wondered what the process was for making those little tidbits of heaven. I will never actually make them but I enjoy knowing how they are made.
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    " It was not good "
    mystic_river1 ate it and said...
    I am sorry but this is not the place to put this type of 'recipe'. It is very dangerous caustic, can blind you! I think if you have to put a disclaimer on a recipe it should not be here at all.
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  • pointsevenout 10 years ago
    Where do you decant off all your lye? How hazardous is it to the plants or animals when you spill it on the ground or get into a stream or lake? Will it kill the good bacteria in a septic tank?
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