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Preserving Olives/Black Olive Tapenade

To Preserve your olives
Pick olives when they are ripe (just turning black) and remove all stems. Don't use any that are soft and squishy.  Give them a good wash then make a little cut in each olive (I would suggest that you wear gloves). Place in a large container of water and make sure that you weigh them down with a plate or something heavy so they are all completely submerged.  Change water every day and continue this process for about 10 - 14 days to remove the nasty bitter taste from the olives (or at least until you can bear to taste one without pulling a face).  Next fill a large saucepan with water, add some salt (ratio is 10 parts water to 1 part salt) and heat until salt dissolves.  Clean and sterilise your jars and lids. Fill jars with olives, pop in a whole garlic glove or a whole red chilli (or both) or whatever you think might taste good (thyme, oregano and rosemary all go well with olives) and topup with the cooled salt water so all the olives are once again submerged.  I then cover with a thin layer of olive oil and make sure I put a little sticky note on my jars with the date and what exactly I put in there (my version of quality control which is necessary when you experiment in the kitchen so you know what you like and want to do again and what to avoid).  Put the lids on and hide the jars in the back of the pantry for as long as you can wait to let the flavours develop - the longer the better.

A few months later (or years if you forgot about those jars in the back of the pantry) you can make your:
Black Olive Tapenade
Remove all pits from olives (try to get hold of one of those groovy little olive pitters from a kitchen shop) and place the olives in a food processor with fresh lemon juice and some good quality olive oil.  Just use your judgement and add a little at a time - you want it to be like a dip (spreadable but not runny). I put the chilli/garlic that was in the preserved olives in as well.  You might also put some fresh herbs in or experiment with other exotics like capers/anchovies (but not too much or you will overpower the olives).  Blend but keep it a bit chunky then spoon into sterilised jars.  I put a very thin layer of olive oil on top to keep the air out so it keeps longer. Don't put this back in the pantry, store it in the fridge.  This is quite lovely served with some crusty bread (and of course a good glass of wine to wash it down).