Thanks to their tangy flavor, delicious texture, nutritious value, and their health benefits, olives are one of the ingredients you won’t miss in any food lover’s kitchen. And given they are so versatile to whip into almost any Mediterranean cuisine, salad, or even pizza, it is understandable that you would want to stock your olives in large quantities.
However, olives tend to lose their flavor and will soften when not stored correctly. It is, therefore, understandable that you may be asking yourself: can you freeze olives to preserve their freshness?
Well, the answer is yes. You can freeze olives to enhance their longevity. When appropriately frozen, olives can retain their flavor and texture for six months. And when thawed in a fridge, the olives can remain in good condition for another three weeks.
Read on for our top tips on how to freeze olives.
How to Freeze Olives
Follow this simple guide to freeze your olives and ensure you still get the best taste out of them the next time you need to create your favorite dish, be it a cheesy pizza or a salmon salad.
How To Freeze Fresh Olives
Whether you have fresh black olives, stuffed olives, or nocellara olives, you can easily freeze them by following the following steps.
Step 1: Wash and Dry The Olives
After being handled by several hands, the fresh batch of olives you just bought is bound to have some impurities. As such, you need to pop them into a colander and let cool water run through them for a while to remove any present impurities.
Next, allow the olives to dry for 10 to 15 minutes since excess water results in flavor loss and sliminess during the freezing process. If you are pressed for time, you can use a paper towel or a napkin to dry the olives off.
Step 2: Pack The Olives Into a Freezer-Safe Container
Place the cleaned olives into a clean container with an airtight lid. Ensure that you leave at least half an inch of space between them and the top of the container. This is to provide room for the expansion of the olives when they are frozen.
Step 3: Seal, Label, and Date The Container
Ensure the container is closed correctly before popping it into the freezer. You should also label and date it to ensure that you use the olives within the recommended six-month period.
Note – If you give the olive container a gentle shake after 30 minutes of putting it in the freezer, this will ensure the olives won’t stick together when frozen.
How To Freeze Brined Olives
Frozen olives tend to be softer than fresh olives. And if you want your olives to retain their plump texture even after being frozen, you should consider bringing them before popping them in the freezer. But how can you go about freezing brined olives?
Step 1: Wash and Cure The Olives
Fresh, unprocessed olives have a bitter taste and tend to have impurities. As such, you should first wash your raw olives and dry them to remove impurities.
Next, you need to crack them and soak the cracked olives in cold water for three days to get rid of their bitterness.
Step 2: Prepare the Brining Solution
The brining solution is a concentrated salt solution containing four ounces of salt for every one gallon of water. Preparing this solution is straightforward, and you can speed up the dissolution of the salt by boiling the solution.
Step 3: Brine The Olives
Transfer the brining liquid into a pan and add the olives into the solution. Next, boil the brining liquid and the olives for ten to fifteen minutes to allow the concentrated salt solution to penetrate the olives.
Step 4: Rinse The Brined Olives
Remove the olives from the brine and transfer them to a bowl of cold water to cool them. Next, rinse the olives and allow them to dry for about ten minutes. You can also use paper towels to dry the olives.
Step 5: Pack the Olives
Transfer the dry olives into a freezer-safe container and then seal it tightly. Then date and label your container
Step 6: Freeze The Olives
Pop the packed olives into the middle of the freezer, where temperatures are relatively constant.
What Happens When You Freeze Olives?
Although fresh olives tend to retain their flavor and texture when frozen, there is a noticeable change in these qualities, especially texture. This is because frozen olives tend to be softer than their fresh counterparts, and if you aren’t a fan of this, consider boiling your fresh olives in brine before freezing them.
How Long Can You Freeze Olives?
Frozen fresh olives are usually good for up to six months. However, canned olives (removed from the can first!) can remain fresh up to four months after their best by date when stored in a freezer.
How to Defrost Olives
Defrosting frozen olives is simple as you just need to transfer the frozen container into the fridge and allow it to thaw there overnight. The olives will be fully thawed and ready to be used for marinades, sauces, and purees by morning.
Ensure that you consume or use the thawed olives within three weeks, as they will lose their flavor when used past this window.
Can You Refreeze Olives?
Refreezing olives isn’t a good idea as their color, shape, flavor, and overall texture will deteriorate. If you freeze them in small portions, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Freezing Different Types of Olives
All the different types of olives can be frozen including black olives, canned olives (removed from the can), black olives in brine, olives in sauce, green olives, jarred olives (removed from the jar), pitted olives, pickled olives and cooked olives.
Best Tips For Freezing Olives
Although freezing olives is a straightforward task, consider implementing the following tips to get the best results.
- Brine your fresh olives before freezing them. This should ensure the olives retain their texture even after six months in the freezer.
- Freeze your olives in small portions to avoid having to refreeze them after they have been thawed. And if it is impossible to do so, consider flash freezing the olives in a large container to ensure they don’t stick together once frozen. This will make removing and defrosting small portions of the frozen olives easier.
- Always put your container of olives in the middle of the freezer, where temperatures tend to be constant.
- Use frozen olives in cooked dishes such as pizza and stirred pasta sauces as this will help mask the textural changes fresh olives undergo when frozen.
By the way, you can also freeze olive oil.
Other Interesting Questions
Here are a couple of answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding freezing olives and olives in general.
Should You Refrigerate Olives After Opening?
Yes. The best way to keep your olives fresh after opening their container is to refrigerate them.
How Long Can You Keep Olives After Opening?
Brined olives can be kept in a fridge for up to 3 weeks after being opened. On the other hand, olives in oil can be kept for 2 to 4 weeks after being opened.
Do Jarred Olives Expire?
No. Jarred olives usually don’t expire but rather exceed their “Best By” date. You can still consume your jarred olives even four months past this date, provided they are carefully stored in their unopened container.
How Long Do Marinated Olives Last In The Fridge?
When kept in the fridge, marinated olives can stay fresh for 12 to 18 months.
What Do Bad Olives Smell Like?
Fresh olives tend to go bad and emit a metallic smell when not stored properly.
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Freezing olives is a straightforward task requiring no special knowledge or tools. By following this guide, you can quickly freeze your olives and make them accessible whenever you need to use them for one of your favorite recipes.