RECIPE | Want to add flavour to olives? Spice them up with this easy recipe

A tempting new range of local table olives comes bathed in oil and coated in herbs or spices

21 April 2022 - 09:30
By Hilary Biller
Spiced olives.
Image: Hilary Biller Spiced olives.

Come to think of it I’ve been walking down the aisles in supermarkets for many years passing by the olives — black, green and stuffed olives —  not overly tempted by the locally produced packs of the cured fruit bathed in brine but for the occasional pack to dress a salad or make a tapenade.

Recently, I stumbled on small plastic cups, yes recyclable, of mixed olives either in a herb oil or a spicy oil made by Buffet Olives, a well known SA producer , based in Paarl in the Western Cape, who have just added a sparkle to their range.

The 80g cups of flavoured olives come with an easy pull lid that make them portable too; think snack food, a lunch box filler or good picnic fare. It’s just the right amount for a salad too. My favourite is the variety that comes in toasted cumin, chilli and orange oil. Once eaten the cup becomes the perfect vessel for the pips.

Delicious, that’s how you get South Africans to eat more olives, you spice them up. The only puzzle is that the olives are bathed in canola oil rather than olive oil and made by an olive producer?

Each 80g cup sells for R14.99.

If you are tempted by the idea it’s easy to make your own marinated olives and this recipe is one I use often.



400g green or black olives in brine, drained

5ml (1 tsp) coriander seeds, coarsely crushed

5ml (1 tsp) cumin seeds, coarsely crushed

The rind  and juice of one small lemon

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small orange

1-2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

2-3 sprigs of thyme or a sprig of fresh rosemary

1 fresh red chilli, seeded and sliced, optional

125ml (½ cup) olive oil


  1. Place the olives in a bowl adding the remaining ingredients and stir through.
  2. For good flavour place the olives together with all the ingredients and oil  in a jar with a screw top lid and leave at room temperature for a day shaking from time to time.
  3. Serve as a snack with crusty bread, a selection of cheeses or add to a picnic.

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