Perfectly Pickled

Now, by pickled, I mean the jam or preserve kind. Or – as in my case each year – the olive kind. Just so we’re all clear on that.

Since my mother-in-law shared her recipe for preparing olives with me about 4 years ago, autumn means getting stuck elbow-deep in buckets of olives and giving up my bathroom for the cause. The bath and surrounding floor is lined with rows of white buckets filled with purple, glistening olives wallowing in brine (it’s a real conversation starter at dinner parties!), which are stirred daily by my husband or myself for a few weeks before we slice each one, ‘re-brine’ them, and continue stirring for another few weeks.

Slicing them means carefully cutting a slit into each individual olive so that they soak up the salt water and lose their bitterness faster. Picture the two of us, each sitting with a large bucket filled to the brim with olives next to our left knee, and an empty bucket on the floor in front of us, paring knives in hand and red wine within easy reach, listening to 1920’s tunes as black and white movie characters dance silently and cheerfully on the TV and the olives plip-plop into our buckets.

Now imagine doing that with forty kilograms.

And, yes; it is a competition of who finishes their bucket first. Although, this could mean going back to the bath for more.

Why do we do this to ourselves, you ask? There’s a magic involved in going through the sometimes-hard work of a preserving process and coming out the other side with an abundance of something delicious that you made yourself. And what better gift to give than ‘homemade’?

And pitching up at a braai with a jar of these babies is an instant push to the front of the popularity queue. But I have to say with a grin, that to date the most surprising thing to come from making olives is a particularly marvellous friend accepting them as payment for spa treatments. #TrueStory

As I write this, our neatly sliced olives await their bottling date later this month. And I’ll admit; that’s not my favourite part. After a quick dinner, my husband and I form a tag team of sterilising and lid-to-bottle matching; of herb and olive oil distributing, solution making, jar-filling, and sealing. Although these days we break the work up over two nights as it’s easier on the back. (Why didn’t we think of this before??)

Keep an eye on the Pesto Princess social media pages if you’d like to see the final fruits of our labour. 😉

Sincerely Pickled, -hic-
Contessa Candice
P.S. The top secret recipe I use was created by my mother in-law through years of trial, error and plenty tasting. Do you follow a family recipe, or have you tried any found on the net? I’d love to hear about your pickling endeavours.

About: Contessa Candice

Contessa Candice; photographer, writer, and social media guide. Also maker of friends with everyone, (she can’t help it). Some say she was born to tweet...

[a bit of history] Back in 2013, the Contessa spread her wings and left the palace to start her own business, The Social Post, and now acts as content and social media manager for Pesto Princess.

Catch up with her on:
Facebook: @TheSocialPostSA
Twitter: @thesocialpostSA
Instagram: @thesocialpostSA


13 thoughts on “Perfectly Pickled

  1. Colleen says:

    Loved reading this almost as much as I love eating your pickled (hic) olives Contessa. If you want me to collect bottles let me know please. I was given a basic recipe by a French gentleman friend and pimped and perfected it more or less over the 10 years or so that I made and sold copious amounts of olives. Starting to feel like making more now after a couple of years break. But not 40kgs. 10 maybe Happy brining xx

    • Pesto Princess says:

      We’re so very pleased to hear that you enjoyed our very first blog post, Dear Queen Colleen! Hurrah!
      Glad to hear the Contessa’s olives are inspiring you to make your own again. We’d love to try some of your perfected-pickled stash too. Perhaps we should have a tea party with pestoey snacks, bubbly, and an olive tasting… Hmmm. *thinking aloud*

    • Candice says:

      I’m honoured at the compliment, my dear Colly Wolly. Thank you! And hurrah to your coming-soon olives… can’t wait to try them. A palace tea party definitely sounds in order… *eavesdrops on anyone thinking aloud* 😉

      • Colleen says:

        It will have to be next season unless I can get 1kg of them pretty soon from somewhere. Will have to ask around and see if anyone is heading out to the olive farms.

  2. Kathleen says:

    So delighted with all this banter at the bottom of the blog. At the palace we love talking as much as we love eating. We do both at once sometimes.

Leave a Reply to Kathleen Reid Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *