Those delicious morsels of salty goodness that we call olives to have a pretty impressive shelf life when they are in their unopened jars.
However, what happens when you have some olives in the refrigerator that have been open for a while?
Are they destined for the trash if you cannot eat them in time?
Can you pop them in the freezer to keep safe for another day when that olive craving hits you again?
The answer to that question is, of course, yes. Your tasty little olives can certainly be saved, and freeze very easily as long as proper instructions are followed.
Do keep reading if you want to learn all about the freezing of olives, how to safely defrost them, and the factors you should consider before popping these delicious snacks into your freezer.
How to freeze olives
Olives freeze very impressively and retain their delicious flavor even after defrosting. However, in order to get this deliciousness, you must first ensure you freeze them properly. The freezing method for olives is very similar for both fresh and brined (jarred) olives.
The first step is to place the olives in question in a colander or sieve and run them under cold clean water to rid them of any impurities. You can then dab them dry with a paper towel, making sure to do so very gently.
If you have excellent patience you could leave them to drip dry. When they are dry you can pop them into a clean, airtight, and freezer safe container, ensuring they are spread out evenly throughout the container.
You should also make sure there isn’t a huge gap left between the olives and the top of the container. Then you can label them with the date, for example, ‘Green olives, frozen on 1/1/28’. Remember to use them within 6 months.
The second method of freezing olives involves making your own brine. Don’t worry, this isn’t as difficult as it may sound, in fact, it is rather simple. Make some brine water by adding salt to boiled water (we suggest using 4 ounces of salt per 1 gallon of water).
Put your olives into a saucepan, and cover them with your brine water solution. You should then boil this mixture for around 15 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and draining the olives.
Let them cool by placing them in cold water. When they have cooled you can dry them off ready for freezing. As with the last method, drying can either be done via the drip/air drying method or by gently dabbing them with a paper towel.
Take your dry olives and place them in a container that is safe for the freezer and is airtight. Ensure, as always, that they are well spread out so that they don’t stick together. Label them, and put them in the freezer, and remember to use them within 6 months.
How to defrost olives
As if the freezing method wasn’t simple enough, the method to defrost them is easy as pie! Simply grab your olives out of the freezer within 6 months of putting them in there, and place them in the refrigerator for slow defrosting.
Preferably, you should take them out the day before you need them so that they can adequately defrost overnight, however, if that is not possible, do make sure they get at least 6 hours in the refrigerator, checking them after that before eating them.
When they have been defrosted, use them as normal, and if you do have any leftovers again, you must place them in the refrigerator. Sadly you cannot refreeze anything that has already been defrosted. Luckily though, they will last for 2 to 3 weeks in your refrigerator.
If you plan to use the olives directly in a sauce that is being heated, you can just throw them straight into your mixture, as long as they will get adequate heating time in there.
They may lose their flavor a little more using this method, though, so we do recommend being a little bit more patient if you can. Trust us, the taste is worth the wait.
Factors to consider before freezing olives
The main factor to consider before freezing your olives is the freshness of them. As we have stated, olives that have been opened must be kept in the refrigerator and it is recommended to use them up within 3 weeks at the most.
Any longer than this and they may drastically alter in taste, and may even turn bad. Ensure any opened olives you plan to freeze are frozen within these 3 weeks, to ensure taste and safety.You may also want to consider whether you would like them to maintain their brined taste, in which case you should follow the instructions on how to do this above under the section ‘How to freeze olives’.
As well as this, you may want to factor in whether your olives are stuffed with anything. Stuffed olives can be frozen, however, it is worth considering what they are stuffed with.
Cheese stuffed olives, for example, shouldn’t be frozen, however, if they are stuffed with peppers then that would be fine.
To summarize, these gorgeously tasty jewels of salty goodness can be frozen very easily and defrosted just as simply.
You can rest assured that if you have a huge jar waiting for you in the refrigerator, you don’t need to panic eat them all at once, they can be safely stored in your freezer until the olive craving hits you again.
Remember, as with any food that you are freezing, that the olives are all in good condition before you freeze them. Any olives with signs of decay or badness should be tossed in the trash, the freezer will not turn back the damage, sadly.
Label and date your olives before freezing, and ensure you follow our defrosting advice so that they thaw out properly and retain their original tastiness.