Pickling Olives

Pickling olives can be done from a large tin of the Mediterranean's greatest gift to the planet.

I could teach this to a kindergarten child; it's what we call slow food, made fast. The only difficulty arises if you want to bottle them for some distant day; say, for example, if you are growing them, and have half a ton to preserve. For you and me, eating a tin regularly, it takes me no more than maybe fifteen minutes from start to finish.

They don't keep indefinitely. Even those preserved in brine, once the can has been exposed to air will become moldy within a couple weeks. The key is to put them in vinegar and olive oil. Different traditions will add their own favourite herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables.

This is a potje of olives I pickled this week, together with hummus, an old perennial favourite of ours they will make even a plain lettuce and tomato salad famous; it's also known as a chickpea garbanzo bean dip.

The flavour of olives is older than that of meat, older than wine;

a taste that is old as that of cold water.

 Gerald Durrell.

An old Italian pickling olives recipe


  1. 500g black olives (with pits, of course, Italians would utterly turn up their noses at pitted olives!).
  2. Paprika, 1 green and 1 red, sliced (Bell peppers).
  3. A slither or two of chili (some like it hot, include the pips!).
  4. A couple sticks of celery, sliced.
  5. A half to one clove of garlic, thinly sliced. Tip: Olives have a subtle flavour, easily drowned out by too much garlic.
  6. 100ml vinegar.
  7. 100ml olive oil (enough to cover the olives).
  8. A couple twists of black pepper from your pepper grinder.
  9. A pinch of oregano.


  • Drain the olives, thoroughly wash off the brine, we can all do without extra salt, and tip them into a large glass bottle.
  • Add the other ingredients.
  • Stir, because the olive oil floats on the vinegar. That's it! Child's play.

If you insist, pour into sterilised bottles and seal. But that's only necessary if you want them to keep for months. Better still, after two days you can tuck in. As we say in Holland, "Eet smakelijk." Enjoy!

Pickling olives can leave you with a large amount of unused olive oil and vinegar. Instead, wash and pickle say one quarter of the can. You can start eating them within 24 hours, so within a week all that remains in your bottle is a mixture of olive oil and vinegar.

Wash more olives, chop more of the vegetables, and add to the bottle. Top up with more Olive oil and vinegar.

Provided you get the whole can of olives into the Olive oil / vinegar mixture within two weeks all will be well.

Pickling olives

Pickling olives not only preserves them but enhances the flavour umpteen times.

  1. 1kg (say) black olives
  2. Good quality brown Vinegar
  3. Olive oil
  4. Slices of lemon
  5. Slices of celery


  • Carefully wash all the brine off the olives. Be thorough.
  • Pour them into a bottle
  • Add the lemon and celery
  • Let your fancy run wild: Dill, peppers, pickling onions, carrot, garlic (not too much), chili...
  • Cover for two days with vinegar; the longer the more vinegary they are.
  • Strain off the vinegar, and immediately start another batch from your large tin using the same vinegar.
  • Add enough olive oil to cover the olives.
  • It's best to refrigerate, unless you go through the sterilising bottles routine which I couldn't be bothered with. You can start eating in a few days. We've usually finished the whole six pounds within a month; absolutely delicious and healthy to boot.

The Moroccans use orange instead of lemon; it's worth trying.

Astonishing, we think of olives as being a luxury and expensive; not so. That tin of olives we buy has six pounds of olives once you drain off the brine. And it costs about ten dollars. Buy that amount of pickled olives in little bottles, and you would pay over forty.

This way they are dirt cheap; I eat at least 20 olives almost every day.

It's time to get started. You may not have a Turkish shop around your corner, like I have in Rotterdam, where you can buy olives in bulk, but where there's a will there's a way. It's all about good, healthy slow food made fast; delicious, and cheap, so you pig out.

Olives contain the healthy mono unsaturated fatty acids, that are so good for your heart and nerves. Your brain too, it's 60 percent fat you know. Don't get Alzheimers; think rather olive oil benefits.

Olive pate

Olive pâté on bread is to die for, and so easy to make from your pickling olives. Only, make sure you get EVERY PIT out! Definitely one of my favourites. Magnificent side dish for my Helens 15 euro salad ... OLIVE PATE ...

The best pickled olives I've ever tasted...

Giannis had a hernia in his cervical spine two years before his first consultation, with pain radiating down to his hand. The condition gradually settled with medical attention but left him with a very stiff neck, and regularly he suffered from tingling in his left arm.

We chatted about this and that during the treatment, and it didn't take long for me to discover his family have an olive farm on a Greek island. He brought me a sample; ooh and ah. The best pickles I've ever tasted.

Was the recipe a family secret? Surely it must be; but no, after his summer holiday, Giannis brought me the directions. He calls them marinaded.

  1. Ten pounds of olives straight from the tree; place them in a small bucket with a lid, three quarters full.
  2. 2 Tbsp of concrete lime; I suppose similar to that which we use on the garden.
  3. 2 Tbsp of wood ash, straight from the hearth.

Have you got an olive tree?

Add the lime and the ash to the olives, and cover with water.

After 24 hours, wash the olives thoroughly with clean water.


  1. Olives
  2. 2 Tbsp coarse salt
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 litres of brown vinegar
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 200 ml olive oil
  7. 1 lemon, sliced, with peel

I can't say I've tried to make it. But if I had the raw olives, I would certainly make the effort.
In a clean bucket, add all the ingredients and cover the olives with clean spring water, and seal.

After three months, Giannis promises that we'll have heaven on earth; oh for an olive tree in the garden.

By the way, Giannis's neck is doing great. He comes every six weeks for a grease and spray, and I convinced him to make a homemade traction unit for himself.

HOME TRACTION UNIT for a slipped disk

Research suggests that traction alone doens't help a slipped disc in the neck. However, in conjuntion with Chiropractic care, I'm convinced it helps. Make your own... HOME TRACTION UNIT ...

Foods to reduce inflammation

Olives and olive oil. Why change?

Yes, olive oil does cost more than the conventional polyunsaturated oils in your supermarket, and with good reason. There's strong research now proving that the change from mono to polyunsaturates is highly inflammatory in the body.

Joint and muscle pain, inflamed arteries, inflammatory bowel disease are on the cards; does it ring a bell?

To prevent this, reduce your polys by changing to olive oil, and increasing your anti inflammatory omega 3 oils.

Either spend your money on good healthy food, or spend five hundred times more  on doctors, chiropractors, pills.... not to mention the pain.

Pickling olives is the other great option; I recommend both. It's not a case of either or.

Healthy living tips

For the chiropractor olives and avocados should always be on the menu. They are rich in the oleic acid that coats your nerves. No fatty myelin sheath means no conduction and zero muscle action; have you heard of MS?

Another thing I really like about olives and its oil is that they are very soothing on the stomach; less indigestion heartburn. Pickling olives should be on the agenda for every family.


A very scary thought...

"There is a mass of people, we might as well admit, who if they weren't watching television, would be doing absolutely nothing else."

Bennet Celf

True? So many fun things to do. Mess around in the kitchen pickling olives, pottering around my beehives, turning a lamp on the lathe, take a ride along the River Maas, make a serious start on my seventh book, The man who would be Pope ...

Aside: The way of the future, zonder twijfel, without a doubt is ebooks. At a tenth to a quarter of the price, it IS the future. The three books  that make up the A Family Affair reviews  trilogy will set you back only 99c each, yes, no mistake, 99c each.

Stones in my Clog is finished by the way. You can read Chapter One at WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO ...  and download the whole book in less than one minute onto your Kindle, smartphone or tablet - go to Stones in my Clog in the Navigation Bar on the left of www.Bernard-Preston.com. It's only $2.99.

The fun can only start when we turn that damned television OFF!!!

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.