Olives in oil, Olive sott'olio

A recipe by Pietro Demaio from his book 'Preserving the Italian Way'.

Olives in a bowl


  • 300g table salt
  • 2kg hard, fresh green or black olives
  • your choice of flavourings: peeled whole garlic cloves, lemon slices, oregano leaves, mint leaves, fennel seeds
  • extra-virgin olive oil, to cover


Make a brine by bringing the salt and 3 litres of water to the boil in a large stockpot.

Place the olives in clean jars, together with your choice of flavourings.

Pour the still hot brine over the olives, ensuring they are completely submerged but there is still a 2 cm gap at the top of the jars.

Seal. As the brine cools, it will seal the jars hermetically to prevent the brine from developing a mould and to keep the olives firm. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 months.

After 3 months, drain the olives and place them in a large glass container, then cover with oil, ensuring the olives are completely submerged.

Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 1 month before eating. The olives will keep for up to 2 years unopened.

Once opened, store in the fridge, where they will keep for up to 1 month.