Olives à la Picholine

Picholine-Style Olives

Picholine is the name given to a variety of olive, large and long and always picked green. Although grown in parts of Languedoc, Drôme and the Ardèche, the method of preparing them is also used with fleshy green olives from elsewhere in the south.


  • 5 kg(11 lb) fleshy green olives
  • 5 kg(11 lb) wood ash
  • cold water


  • 1 kg( lb) salt
  • bay leaves
  • a few flat heads of fennel seeds
  • a strip of orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed, lightly crushed


Turn the olives, free of stems or leaves, into a large bowl or bucket. Mix in the wood ash and sufficient water to make a thick paste.

Leave the olives in this lessive, stirring them once or twice a day, for 10 – 12 days, or until under pressure of your fingernail the flesh comes away easily from the stone.

Rinse the olives thoroughly in plenty of cold water which is changed every day for 9 days.

Make the brine in a large pan by dissolving the salt in 10 litres(a generous 2 gallons) water and bring to the boil with the bay leaf, fennel, orange rind and coriander seed. Simmer for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

Cover the drained olives with the cold brine and store, covered, stirring every day, for at least one week before eating.