Olives are a staple in the Mediterranean diet. Not only can you eat them as they are or add them to a salad, but you can use them in hot dishes such as pizza, pasta, and tagines, as well as in sauces for chicken and fish dishes. Olive bread is also delicious. However, they usually come in big jars or packets so what can you do if you have too many to use in the near future? The answer is simple. Freeze them. There are two ways in which you can freeze them, either fresh or in brine. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze olives and how to defrost them.
How To Freeze Fresh Olives
Fresh olives are easy to freeze and these are the steps you should follow.
1. Wash the olives.
Put the olives in a sieve and run it under a cold tap. Make sure that you dry them properly as you don’t want to freeze them if they are wet. This can cause ice crystals to form and the olives may become mushy when defrosted.
2. Pack the olives.
You can either put the olives in a freezer bag or in an airtight container. If you are using a freezer bag, make sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible otherwise freezer burn may occur, and the taste and texture of the olives may change. It is also a good idea to freeze them in portion sizes so that you just defrost as many olives as you think you will need at a time. Make sure you leave a little space in the bag or container as the olives may expand. Put a label on whichever you use with the date you put it in the freezer. You don’t want to keep them in the freezer for longer than you should.
3. Put the olives in the freezer.
After around half an hour, shake the bag or container to stop the olives from sticking together.
How To Freeze Brined Olives
Brining olives before you freeze them is a good idea as it helps to keep their texture. This is how to do it.
1. Prepare the brining solution.
To make the brine, boil salted water. Use four ounces of salt for every gallon of water.
2. Brine the olives.
Boil the olives for between fifteen to twenty minutes.
3. Rinse the olives.
Put the olives in a sieve and run them under a cold tap. Make sure that you dry them completely so that ice crystals don’t form on the olives when they are put in the freezer.
4. Pack the olives.
As with fresh olives, you can use either freezer bags or airtight containers, leaving enough room for the olives to expand. Squeeze the air out of the freezer bag if you are using one so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Label the bag or container with the date you put it in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Olives
- If you only have a large container to freeze your olives in, you can flash freeze them to stop them from sticking together. To do this, first put the olives on a baking tray, making sure that they aren’t touching each other. Put this in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then you can pack them in a freezer bag or airtight container and put them in the freezer. You will then be able to take out just as many olives as you need.
- Brining is a good idea as it helps to retain the texture of the olives. It is a bit time-consuming, but it does help to stop the olives from going soft.
- Whichever method you use to freeze your olives, they will lose a little texture. Because of this, it is best to use them in dishes rather than put them in a salad. Try a chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons or garlic butter shrimp (see also ‘Can You Freeze Prawns?‘) pasta with olives.
For How Long Can You Freeze Olives?
You can keep olives in the freezer for up to six months and they will still taste good. However, the earlier you eat them, the better they will be. That goes for most foods that you freeze.
How Do You Defrost Olives?
It is always best to defrost food slowly as this helps to stop bacteria from forming. The best thing to do when you want to defrost your olives is to put them in the fridge. It should only take a few hours as olives are quite small.
Can You Refreeze Olives?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze olives as the texture will change and they will probably end up mushy. In addition, freezing, defrosting, refreezing, and defrosting again can increase the chances of bacteria forming. It is much better to freeze the olives in portions that you feel you will be able to use within the three weeks they will last in the fridge.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Olives?
It’s not a bad idea to freeze olives as they last in the freezer for a while. They will experience a slight texture change, but if you brine them, this change will be minimal. It’s best to use them in dishes where you won’t notice the textural change. However, if you want to put them in a salad, make sure that you pour over lots of olive oil as this will help to disguise the texture change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing olives, but in case you want to know more, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze any types of olives?
There are 25 different types of olives and you can freeze all of them.
Can you freeze sliced olives?
Yes, you can. Just follow the same instructions for freezing whole olives. Sliced olives are great for use in pasta and pizza (see also article about freezing Domino’s pizza) dishes.
Can you freeze stuffed olives?
It depends on what the stuffing is. Cheese will make the olives dry and spongy, so we don’t recommend freezing olives filled with cheese. However, if they are stuffed with anchovies or pimento peppers, they will freeze well.