The delicious olives cassées that garnish Provençal luncheon tables during several months of the year (put into their brine the first part of October, they are best from the end of October to mid-January, but will last through March or April), slightly bitter, refreshing, with a flavor that is nervous and exciting, resemble in no way olives commercially available in the United States. During early autumn, fresh green olives are sold widely in Italian neighborhoods for home preparation.
Each olive should be given a brisk tap with a wooden mallet—just forceful enough to split the skin without crushing the olive or breaking the pit. They are then put into a large basin of cold water and kept for ten days, the water being changed each day. This draws out their excessive bitterness. Rinsed well and well submerged in an herb-flavored brine, one may begin eating them two weeks later (any drained for serving and not consumed should be returned to the brine—they spoil in contact with the air).