The good news: My first try at curing olives is finished.The bad news: I think I made botulism.

I let the olives soak in the brine liquid (1 gallon water to 1 cup salt) for 10 days. Then I rinsed.Then I decreased the salt by half and waited another 10 days. Then I rinsed.

I waited for months and all the clues that I was watching for occurred: The olives turned an ugly brown color. They developed a black, thick, rubber-like skin on the surface (something that’s supposed to add flavor, I was told). But they still tasted too harsh to be ready. So I let them sit a little more. After waiting patiently for months, I did what any busy person with a short attention span would do. I forgot about them completely.

Now those olives that I put so much energy into are so ugly, I highly doubt their mother would love them. Puffed, mushy fruit, with skin that resembles a painful blister from a pair of new shoes.

I did take a bite of one of them. Okay, not a bite, but I cut one open and touched my tongue to it. It tasted like an olive, but the idea of having to get my stomach pumped if I ate more was reason enough to toss the lot.

If anyone is looking for me, I'll be at the farmer's market trying to score more fresh olives for round two.

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