Spoto Family Green Olive Recipe (Henry Spoto Sr. 1898-1987)
Sept. 14, 2013
By Bill Spoto
My father, Henry Spoto, Sr., made olives like this as far back as I can remember. He did not have a recipe, so it has taken some careful research. I have been making them for about 25 years. My family, friends and neighbors have enjoyed them with me.
Salt: I have seen many amounts of salt to use. Some use plain water. To be safe I like to use enough plain salt "NO ADDITIVES READ THE LABEL!!" (not iodized) to float a raw egg in the shell. One pound (1 1/3 cup) per gallon of water is the concentration I like to use. Weigh the salt, the weight per cup will vary depending on how course the salt is. If you use too much salt too soon the olives will shrivel. Since 2010 & 11 I used 1/2 cup or 5.5 oz. for the first 2 weeks only. One cup the 3rd week. The 4th week 1 1/3 c & put them in jars. During the brine phase, top off your container every morning to be sure the olives are covered. After the olives are cured to where I like them to be, I store them in quart jars with 1 pound (1 1/3 cups) salt per gallon. Taste the olives after three weeks and see if they are not to bitter. Three weeks should be enough. They will cure a little more in the gar in the refrigerator. I use one quart canning jars with new lids and bands. I like to use queen olives (Green Sevillano Olives) in mid to late September while they are still green usually after the weather has cooled. As olives ripen they turn reddish and then black. If they are too ripe they become soft. I usually cure 5 gallons of olives.
1. Wash the olives and crack them with a wooden hammer on a cutting block. The olives crack better if you put them in a refrigerator overnight or put ice and water on them. When I crack the olives a good part of the pit is free.
2. Put the cracked olives in a crock or glass container that will not react to the salt.
3. Mix the desired amount of plain salt with one gallon of water. Mix well until salt is dissolved.
4. Fill container and put on a weighted plate on the olives to keep them under the surface of the brine. Cover the container with plastic wrap.
5. Put the container in the shade in, a cool place, this will prevent mold from starting. Be careful not to spill salt around plants or where you plan to grow anything. It will kill the soil and plants. Protect from rain and animals.
6. Change the brine once a week for about three weeks.
7. Put the olives in jars and cover with 1 1/3 cups (1 lb.) salt per gallon of water. I use canning jars, lids and bands. I put a small layer of olive oil on top of the jars. Store in the refrigerator.
8. When you want to use some of the olives, drain the salt water, rinse and fill with plain water. Put back in refrigerator overnight. Drain next day and fill the jar with 1/4 to 1/3 wine vinegar and balance water.
9. To serve, put olives with a little of the water and vinegar in a dish and add olive oil and seasoning to taste. I use a little basil and oregano. To prepare the garlic I like to peal, chop and cook the garlic in the microwave for a short time in olive oil. Experiment for the length of time in the microwave. Also season to taste, I use 1 teaspoon dry oregano, 1 teaspoon dry basil and two jalapeņo peppers cut into rings with seeds removed per quart of olives.