Lye cured olives

Discussion in 'Food - Cooking, Preserving & Fermentation' started by Mark, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's a video about how to cure olives quickly with lye (sodium hydroxide) which is a very dangerous substance to work with let alone use in food.

    However, the guy in the video does a good job explaining how to cure olives using the lye method and even though his reasons for curing olives this way are sound and largely used around the world commercially it's not something I would do personally with my crop.

    His main reasons for curing olives with lye instead of more traditional methods such as brine (salty water) is how much faster the process is being able to cure olives ready to eat within days (as opposed to months with brine) and also he reckons the olives taste better plus are sterilised during the process whereby the lye kills any bacteria etc that brining may not.

    The last point he makes above (I did verbalise) is actually one of the main reasons why I use lacto fermentation to cure my olives because I WANT good bacteria to survive the curing process and be present in my olives for the heath qualities it brings particularly for "gut" health.

    Furthermore, the "time" factor seems like a weak argument and to use a dangerous chemical just to cure olives in a fraction of the time it takes doing it naturally in brine is just nonsensical for backyard growers when we do tend to have time on our side to grow organically and create our food the "slow" healthy way - that's the POINT!

    Yes, I do understand commercially it probably makes sense to cure olives fast with lye but that's the pressures of business.

    My final point is about the claims that olives taste better when cured in lye... I can only speak from tasting commercial olives cured with lye compared to our own cured in brine (over many months) and I think our olives taste just as good. In fact, sometimes the commercial olives I've tasted seem almost watery and void of any flavour so I wonder if they have been over cured in lye? I don't really know...

    Having said that, it would be disingenuous of me to not acknowledge my likey personal bias towards our own olives and since I have not tried the lye method myself on our own produce I can not truly compare the taste one way or the other between lye and brine.

    So I guess you can see I have a strong opinion on why I wouldn't use lye to cure our own olives; nevertheless, I still want to acknowledge the creator's efforts in making this video because it's good quality, well edited, easy to understand, informative, and generally a good "how to" content video on the lye method of curing olives.

    Just because curing olives in lye is not a method I agree with doesn't mean it's wrong - but it's not for me :)

     
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