There they are, in my big shallow pasta bowl. Big, plump and gorgeous, and anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks away from being ready to eat. I started out by dumping them all out into the pasta bowl and swishing them around to wash in cool water.
Next, each of the olives needs to be slit, so I used a sharp paring knife to make a cut from end to end almost down to the pit. As I slit each olive, I dropped it into a 3-liter glass jar.
Then, I filled the jar with a strong plain brine at a ratio of 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. The olives have to stay completely submerged in order to cure properly, so I used an old trick to keep the olives submerged: I filled a plastic bag with leftover brine and topped off the olives with it before closing up the jar. The bag will keep the olives well below the surface of the brine, and putting brine instead of water in the bag guarantees that if the bag ever develops a hole, the brine for the olives won't get diluted. (You can see how this looks in the picture below - see how the olives seem to be suspended in the center of the jar? The plastic bag isn't easily visible once it's filled with brine.) I did this step in the sink, because pouring the brine into a plastic bag is kind of messy, and because I was making sure there was enough in there (completely topped off) it overflowed a little. When the jar was packed and sealed, I put it in the cool, dark kitchen closet for the curing time.
Now comes the hard part: Waiting. Over the next three weeks, I have to visit the olives every few days and swirl the jar a little. Every week or so, the method calls for rinsing the olives and changing the brine. In about three weeks, I'm supposed to taste one of the olives to see how they're doing - if the sample is still bitter, the brine gets changed again and we sample again in a week.
Check back with me in another week, and we'll take a peek at them.