Olives are a delicious addition to almost any meal or snack. If you find yourself unable to eat them all before their expiration date, there are several storage options, including freezing.
You can freeze both fresh and store-bought olives by freezing them in an airtight container for long-term storage. However, you will first want to brine fresh-picked olives before freezing so that they will maintain their texture. Olives can be frozen for up to 2 years.
In this article, I’ll explain how to properly freeze olives. I’ll also cover how long olives last in the freezer, how to defrost them, and alternative storage methods to consider. Let’s go!
How To Freeze Store-Bought Olives (4 Quick Steps)
To properly freeze your olives, follow these four easy steps:
- Drain olives with a colander and rinse them in cold water. This process removes any dirt or areas of aging.
- Dry olives. You can do this by patting them with a paper towel, shaking the olives gently, or allowing them to sit and drip dry.
- Place olives in a storage container. The most common storage methods are freezer bags, plastic containers, or glass jars. Ensure containers are freezer safe, moisture resistant, and air. Start by laying the olives on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Flsh freeze the olives on the pan for 2 to 3 hours before moving them to a bag or container. Remove excess air before sealing.
- Date and freeze: The last step is to date the containers and put them in your freezer.
How to Brine & Freeze Fresh Olives
A brine is a salt and water solution. Fresh olives should be prepared in a brine to preserve taste and texture prior to freezing.
To brine your fresh olives:
- Rinse olives and rid them of any leaves, stems, or imperfections. If you prefer your olives sliced, you can then cut them after rinsing.
- Submerge olives into a salt-water solution. Use two tablespoons of salt per gallon of water (1.6 imperial tablespoons of salt per 3.7 liters of water).
- Boil olives in the brine for approximately 15 minutes or soak them in a cold brine solution for multiple days. If you choose to soak your olives, you’ll need to change the water daily.
- Drain the brine. Next you’ll want to drain the saltwater brine and rinse the olives in cool to cold water. Pat the olives dry.
- Add olives to a storage container. Place the olives in a suitable freezer-safe container such as a zip-lock freezer bag. Push any excess air out before sealing. Write the date on the bag and place them in the freezer.
The extra step of brining your fresh olives before freezing them will ensure that they are still firm and delicious once removed from the freezer and thawed.
How To Defrost Olives and Restore Quality
The defrosting process for olives is as simple as moving them to the refrigerator. Plan to give your olives at least six hours to defrost in the fridge before consuming them. Ideally, take them out of the freezer the day before use.
Once defrosted, your olives are ready. Even though olives stay fresh for an extended time in the freezer, you should be prepared for them to have a softer texture once defrosted. One method for restoring the quality of your olives is to mix them with oil, minced garlic, and your preferred seasonings.
Your olives are safe to eat for up to three weeks after defrosting. However, don’t attempt to refreeze olives after they’ve been thawed.
How Long Can You Freeze Olives?
You can freeze olives for as long as one to two years and expect them to stay preserved in your freezer. However, quality will slowly deteriorate, and it’s recommended to consume frozen olives within the first six months for optimal flavor and texture.
Things To Consider Before Freezing Olives
Here are a few things to consider before deciding to freeze your olives.
Freshness of Your Olives
If your olives are fresh from the garden or farmer’s market, you’ll want to brine your olives before freezing to preserve their flavor and texture (see the steps listed above).
Store-bought olives, once opened, should be frozen within three weeks. Otherwise, your olives will become mushy, lose flavor, or go bad in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Olives?
In general, you can freeze stuffed olives, however, it’s not safe to freeze all types of stuffed olives. Cheese-filled olives, in particular, react poorly to freezing temperatures and ultimately go bad in the freezer. However, you can safely freeze olives stuffed with vegetables or garlic.
Alternative Methods to Storing Olives
Freezing is only one of many methods for olive storage. If you plan to eat your olives within a few weeks, it may be better to choose an alternative.
Store-bought olives often come in a can or jar. Once opened, these olives remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Make sure jarred olives remain submerged in their brine liquid before placing them in the fridge. Pour canned olives into an airtight container along with their brine for refrigerator storage.
Fresh olives, or olives that didn’t come in a brine liquid, can either be brined or submerged in oil. Both options require refrigeration.
Another method for storing fresh olives is by drying them using a dehydrator or natural sunlight. Once completely dried, these olives can be stored in an airtight bag or container and placed in the fridge. Dried olives quickly spoil at warm or room temperatures.
You can freeze olives for an extended time. The recommended time is six months, but as long as olives are still fresh when initially stored in the freezer, olives remain safe to eat for up to two years.
You should store your olives in their original brine solution, or brine them yourself if they’re fresh, to keep their original flavor and texture. Olives often soften in the freezer, so the refrigerator may be a better storage option if you plan to eat them within the next month.