Olives are so wonderfully versatile. They make for a delicious quick snack, but they can also add some great flavor to a pasta dish, a pizza, or even a casserole.
But have you ever opened a bottle or can of olives, but not used all of them? and Instead of leaving them in the fridge, did you want a storage solution that keeps them fresh for longer? Perhaps… freezing them?
So, can you freeze olives? You can freeze olives, and there are certain methods you can use to freeze olives to keep them fresh and keep them tasting the same as when they were first opened. Understanding how to prepare olives for freezing is the best way to preserve their quality.
We have created a complete guide on everything you need to know about freezing olives. This way you can make the most of the olives you have at home without any going to waste!
Can You Really Freeze Olives?
The good news is that you can successfully freeze olives, but you do need to prepare them properly for freezing to ensure that they retain as much of their taste and texture as possible.
Freezing olives means that you can keep them fresher for longer, especially if you do not think you will use them before they start to go bad in the fridge.
Keep reading to learn our top freezing methods and popular tips for properly freezing olives (as well as how to thaw them properly as well) to ensure that your olives never go to waste!
Is It Okay To Freeze Olives?
It is perfectly fine to freeze olives, but it is important to follow a proper freezing process, as the taste and texture of the olives once frozen and thawed will depend on how they were frozen.
You can freeze olives in brine, an oil-based mix, or even vacuum-sealed. All the different methods of freezing olives result in varying tastes and textures once they are thawed and eaten.
Freezing olives is a great way to preserve them for longer, and can extend their shelf life for a good few months beyond what it would have been had you just left them in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Black And Green Olives?
You can freeze both black and green olives, as there is not much of a difference with how the two turn out once frozen and then thawed.
If the black olives were chopped, or green olives were sliced, you can still freeze them successfully, but it would be better to freeze them once brined to preserve their texture and to keep their taste.
You could even freeze black and green olives together if you wanted to, as they freeze the same and there isn’t much of a need to separate them first, especially if you do not mind the two flavors mixing together slightly.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Olives?
Stuffed olives can be frozen, but you do need to consider what the olives are stuffed with. Some olives are stuffed with cheese, which might not be ideal to freeze as the cheese might go through too much of a texture change.
However, olives stuffed with ingredients such as pimento peppers, garlic, or anchovies usually freeze really well.
How Long Can Olives Be Frozen For?
Without freezing, olives have quite a long shelf life. Unopened olives in brine can last for between 3 to 6 months, whereas opened olives in brine should be eaten within 3 weeks.
Olives in oil should also be eaten within 2 to 4 weeks, and need to be kept in the fridge. The only time that olives can be kept in the pantry is when they are unopened and the packaging is fully sealed.
Having a maximum of 4 weeks of shelf life in the fridge might not be enough for the leftover olives that you have, and instead of letting them sit in the fridge and go bad, you could freeze them to extend their shelf life further.
When prepared properly for freezing, and if fresh when frozen, then olives can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. They will retain most of their best quality, in flavor and texture, when frozen for up to 6 months.
They will not spoil if kept in the freezer for longer than this, but they will begin to lose their quality after this, will not taste the same, and might develop a rubbery texture.
When freezing olives, it is best to label them with the date of freezing, so you can be sure to use them within 6 months and enjoy them at their best!
Does Freezing Change The Taste Of Olives?
Olives do tend to freeze well, but proper preparation has to be followed to ensure that their taste and texture are preserved when frozen.
Even with proper freezing methods, olives might have a change in texture and even taste. They might lose some of their salty, briny taste, and the texture might change to be more rubbery or chewy, or even soft and mushy.
The upside is that any change in texture is not so noticeable when you are using the olives in a cooked meal, as they will cook down with the rest of the ingredients. The taste might be duller, but you can counteract this with some salt.
The quality of the olive will also depend on how well it freezes, and how it retains its flavor once thawed. Stronger-tasting olives will likely hold onto their flavor better, especially if they are frozen once brined.
The Best Ways To Freeze Olives
The best way to freeze olives will depend on the type of olive that you are freezing, whether they are fresh, brined, or in olive oil.
To help you keep your olives in the best condition possible while frozen, here are the best methods to freeze each type of olive.
Fresh olives need little preparation when it comes to freezing, making the freezing process fairly simple.
However, the lack of brine and oil does mean that there is a chance that the olives might not have the best texture once they have been frozen and thawed.
Here is how to freeze fresh olives:
- The first step is to wash the fresh olives by placing them in a colander and placing them under running water. Once rinsed, leave them to dry. You can either leave them to air dry or pat them down with a paper towel.
- Once they have dried, you can place the olives in a freezer-safe container. This could be a freezer-safe glass or plastic container with an airtight lid, or a plastic freezer bag. If using a plastic freezer bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
- Label the container with the date of freezing and the name of the contents so you can easily identify them when in the freezer, and you can keep track of when to use them by.
This method is suitable for stuffed olives, too!
Brining olives before freezing them is a great way to preserve their flavor and texture,
Here is how to freeze brined olives:
- Start by making your own brining liquid. This is fairly simple to do. Place water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, adding 30g of salt for every liter of water. Stir to ensure that all of the salt dissolves evenly.
- Once the brining mixture is ready, pour it over the olives in a pan and allow this to boil for 10 minutes.
- Drain the brine from the olives, and rinse them in cold water. Leave them to dry or pat them down with a paper towel.
- Place the olives in a freezer-safe container (either a glass or plastic container with an airtight lid) or a plastic freezer bag, making sure to remove all the air before freezing.
- Label and date the container with the name of the contents and the date of freezing to keep track of them in the freezer.
Flash Freezing Olives
When freezing olives, there is the option to flash freeze them, which means that they won’t stick together when frozen, so you can remove as many as you want from the container without having to defrost the whole bunch.
This way, the olives will not stick together when frozen, and you can just use as much as you need at any point.
Here is how to flash freeze olives:
- Wash and dry your olives first. Once dry, place them on a baking sheet in a single layer, without them touching each other.
- Place the baking sheet into the freezer and leave the olives to freeze for 2 hours.
- Once the olives have frozen, place them in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container and label them with the date of freezing.
You can also slice olives before flash freezing them, which takes out some of the preparation for when you want to use the olives in a meal.
Tips For Freezing Olives
When freezing olives, there is some preparation that is needed, but it is fairly simple. To help you out a little more, here are some tips to follow to ensure you get the best out of your olives when freezing them!
Brine Before Hand
If you are freezing fresh olives, consider brining them before freezing. This does add some extra time to the freezing process, but it will help the olives retain their taste and texture better.
Without brining, olives could become very soft and mushy during the freezing and thawing process — brining helps to prevent this.
Freeze In Smaller Portions
It really does make sense to freeze olives in smaller portions, as you do not know how many olives you might need in a few months’ time.
It is probably worth freezing a small number of olives together (just as much as you would need for pasta, pizza, or casserole) so that you can pop all of the olives in without having to let any go to waste, as they cannot be refrozen once thawed.
Smaller portions are also ideal for snacking on, and you won’t have to feel pressured to eat a whole bunch of olives just because you defrosted them.
Freezable snack bags are ideal for this because they can be stacked one on top of each other and not take up too much space in the freezer!
Use Frozen And Thawed Olives For Cooking
It is best to use frozen and thawed olives for cooking, as there will be some changes to their taste and texture.
You are better able to hide the change in taste and texture when placing the olives in a meal and cooking it down with other ingredients than if you were to eat them as a snack.
They will still be great in sauces, pizzas, pasta, and casseroles!
How To Defrost Olives
Knowing how to freeze your olives is half the battle, but you also need to know how to properly defrost them!
If you do not defrost your olives properly, then they could lose taste and texture, and all the effort you put into preserving the taste and texture when freezing them would be for nothing.
To properly defrost olives, all you need to do is remove them from the freezer and place them in the fridge. This will slowly defrost the olives, and they should be fully thawed in a few hours or overnight.
This is the best way to defrost olives, as it slowly thaws them, and doesn’t allow for too much of a variance in temperature, which could ruin the texture of the olives.
Do not try to thaw the olives in warm water or in the microwave, as this will definitely ruin the taste and texture of the olives.
Why You Should Not Refreeze Olives
The general rule with any food type is to not refreeze food, and this is for a few reasons.
The first reason why you should not refreeze food applies mostly to meat and poultry — while it doesn’t necessarily apply to regular olives, it is relevant to olives that are stuffed with anchovies or other ingredients that are at risk.
This is because freezing, thawing, and refreezing food will increase the chance of bacteria growth.
Too much temperature variation is one way to increase bacteria growth, and this could eventually lead to food-borne illnesses.
The other reason why refreezing olives isn’t ideal is that it will really ruin the taste and texture of the olives.
Freezing the olives once can change the texture and taste, but doing it again and thawing it again, is a sure way to have the olives being mushy and bland.
Make sure to only defrost as many olives as you will be using so that none go to waste, as you should not refreeze olives.
One way to avoid this is freezing olives in smaller portions, so you can only defrost what you need and keep the rest frozen for a later date!
Are black or green olives better for you?
Both black and green olives are great, but black olives are lower in saturated fat, whereas green olives have a higher vitamin E content.
What can I do with freezer-burned olives?
If the olives become freezer-burned in the freezer, you do not necessarily have to throw them away. They can still be used in sauces, purees, and marinades since the freezer burn will not be very noticeable among other ingredients.
Avoid snacking on olives that have been freezer burned, however, as they will not taste as great and will not have a very good texture.