The Cure: Do-It-Yourself Spicy Olives
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Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. fresh olives
  • 8 oz. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Rinse the olives. We didn’t blanch our olives, but if you prefer, submerge olives in 90C (195F) hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Put a clean cheesecloth or kitchen towel in a strainer, fill in the olives and mix with 8 oz. of salt. Cover with cloth and let sit at a cool place for 20 days, mixing through every other day.
  3. Rinse the olives, pat dry and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with some fennel seeds and coarse salt. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 100C (210F).
  4. Let cool and put olives in a glass jar. Add fennel seeds, salt, pepper flakes, dried oregano and olive oil. Close jar and shake well until olives are coated evenly.
  5. Store cool and dark, the olives should stay fresh for about 6 months. Use either as a snack, or in recipes like spicy pasta sauce or on pizza (pits removed).
If you can’t find fresh olives (or don’t want to wait until in season), you can still kick up store-bought dried black olives by treating them with above Step 4. Or if they’re packed in brine, start with step #3. Please note that black ripe olives sometimes contain Ferrous Gluconate, a water-soluble iron salt for maintaining the black color (E579 on EU ingredients on the label). According to Wikipedia, that stuff may be toxic in case of an overdose, but that's rather unlikely with treated olives. Yet I'd go for a not so perfect color or naturally dark olives (check the organic section of your store).
Recipe by Burn Blog at