High fives for the love of olives

When we moved to the farm, we inherited a large number of fruit trees: pear, fig, olive, orange, lemon, cling peach and a massive wild plum orchid that was, and still is, completely overgrown and not bearing fruit. In the early days, I conjured images of large pots happy bubbling away on the stove and me lovingly filling jars with fruit and sweet, sticky goodness. I soon learned though that keeping fruit trees are a HUGE undertaking that requires attention and dedication – and knowledge – none of which I had.  Except for olives. Olives love doing their own thing, and so far, it’s the only crop we have that appears to have no appeal for fruit flies and their friends.


I missed the olive harvest last year because of a pre-occupation with my new baby. But this year, I am back in the olive preservation saddle and have produced a total of 7 jars. Shocking, considering I usually have at least 6 times that, but sadly even the olives felt the drought and the fruits were minimal.   None the less, I am sure they’re going to be delicious!

This recipe is one of my own doing, but it’s ultimately a combination of tips from the local women in my community who have been doing this for years.

How to preserve your own olives with rosemary and garlic


  • Fresh olives, harvested when they’re plump but still young
  • 1kg coarse sea salt
  • Salt water solution (390g of salt to 4.5 liters of water)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Rosemary
  • Vegetable oil (you can use olive, but canola or sunflower oil works as well)
  • Selection of glass jar with tight-closing lids


Step 1:

Put the harvested olives in a large container with a lid, and soak it for 2 weeks, changing the water daily.

Step 2:

Next, give each olive a cut along one side, up to the stone. This will allow the bitterness to be drawn out of the flesh. Then carry on soaking for another 2 weeks, but this time add a handful of coarse sea salt to the water each time you change it.

A NOTE ON BOTTLING: to ensure your preserves stay preserved, is to make sure that the jars are sterilized. You can bake them in the oven at 140°C for 20 minutes, boil them in a large pot for 10 minutes, or just put them through an otherwise empty dishwasher on the setting with the highest temperature.

Step 3:

You are ready to bottle! Sterilize the jars and fill each one with the rinsed olives, a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary, leaving about 1 cm free at the top.

Step 4:

Pour the salt water solution over the olives, still keeping that 1cm free at the top.

Step 5:

Fill the jar to the top with vegetable oil. The oil will prevent air from getting in and spoiling all your hard work.

Step 6:

Screw the lids on tightly and leave for another minimum 2 weeks. Using this method, I have been able to preserve olives for up to 12 months.

While it does take a bit of time, it is seriously worth the wait. Enjoy!

Happy preserving!


Comments · 1

  1. Hello Germarie,

    Lovely picture up here 🙂

    Awesome tips for preserving the olives for over a year.

    Means I can enjoy them through out the year.

    Thanks for the share.


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