Olives can be used for more than just adorning cocktails at dinner parties. They can be delicious (and healthy) food on their own, replacing less flavorful things like green beans and peas if you want. But that only matters if you can keep them around for long enough to make them. So, can you freeze olives?
Yes, you can freeze olives whether they are right off the vine or store-bought. Olives are one of the vegetables that has adapted the best to the revolution that is refrigeration. They keep their flavor and texture for up to six months, and even after then the loss of flavor is only a real problem after eight.
There are a few nuances in the preparation of frozen olives, however. It is nothing big, you will not be expected to do advanced chemistry or anything like that. But you probably do not want your olives to be stuck together.
How To Freeze Olives
There are two ways to go about freezing olives: The easy way, and the way that ensures that they do not stick together in the freezer. The thing you should know now is that your olive is not necessarily going to get stuck together in the freezer. This is not always going to happen.
But in case it starts happening, you will probably want to know how to make it stop.
The Easy Way
Everyone has the same instinct when they think of freezing vegetables: “Can’t you just throw them in the freezer and go about with the rest of your day?”
With most vegetables, doing this is a trap. Your vegetables will be destroyed by the cold or devoured by bacteria if you do not take steps to protect them. In the case of olives, it is slightly less true. Olives have skin, like an apple, and squishy insides. But the skin is good at keeping the insides safe.
This means that, at least in theory, olives could be just thrown into the freezer. Their insides are not going to freeze and rupture like cucumbers would (they do not have enough water for that). But part of the reason other vegetables require preparation before freezing is because, in practice, they will have to share the freezer.
So, clean your olives and store them in their jar or a Tupperware container. They will not die to the cold, but they can still get crushed by a frozen pizza, bucket of ice cream, or whatever else you maybe have in there.
The Hard Way
The “hard way” is by “brining” the olives before you freeze them. Brining is a process that helps preserve the olives from bacteria, age, and freezer burn. In short, it is a full-proof freezing method.
The brining process involves a lot of water, a lot of salt, and a vessel that can hold both. Try to get a one-gallon jug or jar. If you do not have one, you can use a cleaned-out milk jug. Fill the vessel with water, then add four ounces of salt to it. This is your brining liquid. Next, pour the liquid into a pan and boil your olives in the fluid.
After they have been boiled, you need to rinse them. This does not mean scrubbing them down. Rather, you should put them in a strainer and run some cold water over them. Once they are rinsed out, put them in a container and freeze them like normal. Now, they will last for up to two years.
Two years is the maximum though, and you should be sure to check on them periodically to make sure they are fine. Eighteen months is when the brined olives really start to run any risks. You definitely do not need to worry about them before that time.
What Kills Olives In The Freezer?
When you store meat in the freezer, it is eaten by bacteria. When you store vegetables in the freezer, it is eaten by the simple fact that it is frozen. You see, when things freeze they begin to separate out. It happens very slowly, and any interruption to the process will return the things in question back to equilibrium.
But if it is not stopped, it eventually develops into a freezer burn. Nothing comes back from this. And this is what usually kills olives, along with most other vegetables you can store in the freezer.