Sunday, June 3, 2012
Herbed Olives: Correction
We tried making herbed olives (cheap Market Basket olives + cheap olive oil + herbs and spices + Mason jars) for the first time in February, and I may erroneously have given you the impression that they looked good but tasted sort of ... meh.
This is not true. If you jar them and then promptly refrigerate them, not much happens. But if you let the olives sit out at room temperature*, the olives start picking up amazing flavors and the oil can season your dinner by itself.
We've filled our jars twice more since we last talked (so we've made six quarts of olives in total, using about $15 worth of olives). For the first refill, I didn't replace any of the seasonings; just added more olives and olive oil on top of them in the jars. For the second refill, I did start over (whole dry chiles and red pepper flakes in one jar; lemon peel and peppercorns in a second; rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, and mustard seed in both). After a day or so of sitting on our counter through a heat wave, those olives were pretty much the best olives EVER.
I keep the two jars of the olives next to the stove, so they're always handy for snacking and the oil is nearby to use for cooking.
* There is a slight risk of botulism (an uncommon but serious form of food poisoning) associated with garlic stored in olive oil kept at room temperature. To lower the risk, you might omit the garlic or cook it in advance, heat the oil (per the original recipe), add lemon juice (for acid), or just refrigerate the darn things. Health Canada says commercial olive oil products that contain salt are fine, so the (incredibly salty) olives help, too.
(This correction post inspired by the Alexes, who not only read but also remember everything I write here.)