I sort of forgot about the black olives I was curing, but even so, I got to them just in time, a month after I started them in a bed of salt. Yep, just plain, dry, non-iodized salt. You place a sieve over a bucket and line the sieve with burlap. Pile in a layer of salt, and then the washed and dried black olives. Distribute a whole bunch more salt over them, and ignore for a week. After a week, you give it a stir, then the next week, and the next, until the month is up.
These olives were so microscopic when we picked them, and they shriveled to almost nothing in the salt. In fact, they were hard and unappealing when I rinsed the salt off the day before yesterday.
Well, I let them dry off in the sieve and got back to them today, to find they had plumped a bit from their own oil. Nice, shiny, good leathery texture, no bitterness! But a few had begun to grow mold. (I was supposed to have put them back on salt, in the fridge, to keep them nice, and even then they have a terribly short shelf life.)
Then, after I took this picture, I ate the olive you see front and center. Beautiful sheen, good color, not a sign of mold.
It had been contaminated with invisible mold. Tasted awful. I chucked out the entire batch.
Ah, sour grapes. They were really too little to eat anyway.