2 kg fresh picked olives 100g salt
4 cloves garlic, whole 4-6 fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
4-6 red chillies (optional)
Wash olives well in cold water and remove any stalks. Remove any olives that are badly bruised or show any mould. Sterilise 2 x 2 litre jars in a 150°C oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
To prepare the salt brine, in a large saucepan add 2 litres of water. Stir in salt, 2 garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme leaves. Simmer until the salt is completely dissolved. Leave to cool and filter to remove the herbs and garlic.
Pack clean olives into the sterilised glass jars and cover completely with the brine. Add 2 cloves of garlic, a fresh bay leaf, a chilli or sprigs of thyme in each jar. Seal and store in a dark cupboard for three months.
After this period, the olives can be used in cooking or marinated with olive oil and your favourite herbs.
To keep the olives longer, after the three month period prepare a new brine with an 80 per cent solution (80g of salt for every litre of water) and pack the olives into fresh jars with the fresh brine.
To sterilise your jars, wash them well, then place the jar and lid into a large pot of boiling water. Let the water simmer away for several minutes before you lift out carefully and let dry on clean paper towels