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Elies Tsakistes the way we eat them in Cyprus

Elies Tsakistes (pronounced Eliės Tsakistės) are crushed olives which are harvested when green. Green olives are usually sold ready to be eaten but if you produce olives and want to make them from scratch, there is a procedure to follow in order that the olives become edible.

First of all you have to crack the olives and put them in water for as long as necessary until they are not bitter any more.To crack the olives place on a cutting board, wear latex gloves and wear something old or a plastic apron as when they are cracked the juices may stain your clothes and it is very difficult to remove the stains.

My mother would tell us to help her do this job and she had a large clean marble where we would put the olives and with a big pebble would crush them but we had to be careful not to break the pip. You may also crash them with the pestle but a mallet may also be used.

Green Olives

After crushing them they have to be soaked in fresh water, which is changed every other day until the bitterness is removed.

If you have a large amount of olives you must brine them in order to preserve them.  The analogy is for every 8 cups of water is 1 cup of salt.

My sister in law sent me some olives which she had already cracked and put in water and were nearly ready to be eaten. I tried one and although it still had a slight bitterness I loved the taste. It had such a fruity taste, full of juice that I could not wait any longer to start eating them.

In Cyprus we prepare the cracked olives by marinating them.   The olives should be marinated for at least a day so that all the flavours may be released and  believe me, you can’t stop eating them.

I have been eating them every day since last week, with lentil soup, with green beens, with peas, stuffed in meat, mixed with potatoes, in salads, as a mezes and I even eat some for breakfast.

How to prepare EliesTsakistes


  • ½ kilo (1.10 lbs) of green cracked olives
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, cut into 2 – 3 pieces each
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Olive oil, to cover them
  • Salt


  1. See above how to prepare them.
  2. Wash the olives from the brine water and add crushed coriander seeds, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to cover them and mix all the ingredients. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  3. They can be eaten right away but it is best to allow them at least one day to marinate so that all the flavours of the ingredients are released.  If they are covered with olive oil they may be preserved outside the refrigerator but if less amount of olive oil is added it is best to store them in the refrigerator, covered.
  4. Remove them from the refrigerator at least an hour before eating.

This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

5/5 (3)

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21 Responses

  1. Oh, yummy! I love olives and those look absolutely scrumptious!



  2. Ivy this is so interesting to see how this is done. I love olive in any shape, form, or color so I must come to Cyprus and try these olives! Someday!

  3. If onlt there was an olive tree within 100 km of here sis. We have a type of olive tree that grows here but it doesn’t bare fruit..

  4. I’ve purchased olives from California and I followed the cracking and changing of the water method. It’s tedious but not that hard.

    I too eat these olives alot and the coriander seed mixture is a delight.

  5. This is almost like a pickle… very interesting Ivy.

  6. Crushed green olives are my all time favorite olives. My mom and her cousins do it just like your mom, on a clean marble. I can eat them every day for breakfast, but unfortunately the Turkish or Greek ones I can find here sliced not crushed. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. My dad was always responsible for this job! I love the addition of the coriander seeds…a great touch to bring in some extra flavour Ivy.

  8. Looks good and interesting. This is like how we do pickles using mangoes or lemon ….

  9. Oooh, I love olives and those look scrumptious! My mom always laughed when I was a kid because I was the only child she knew who would ask for olives at the grocery store!

  10. Gorgeous! I want some of those olives…I love your site, by the way,and am linking you under my Greek stuff. 🙂

  11. I’m a big fan of olives and this looks like a wonderful way to prepare them. Unfortunately, I’ll just have to drool over yours because you can’t really find fresh olives in Paris – or I’ll have to go down south…

  12. I am an olive FIEND. I came close to buying some fresh green olives this year in the market, but they were only sold by the case and Mike wouldn’t let me. He thought that a case of olives would be excessive. Pish, tosh I say!! It’s not like they’ll go bad after they’re brined….I should have bought them when he wasn’t looking.

  13. Yum, I love to try some. Where can I find some fresh green olives in California?

  14. Last year I tried to cure olives and it was disaster. Thanks for this. I may try it again. From time to time I can find raw olives around this time.

  15. I know that one can get green olives in this day and age of everything everywhere, but I am still jealous that you have olive trees!

  16. PG

    Wow! I love those green olives. I have, I think, eaten something similar in southern Italy. The recipe looks grest! If I could get those frssh here, I would love to try making ths recipe. yum yum!

  17. What an interesting way… now I want olive trees!!! Hmmm… maybe i can be the first in my country to plant olive tree??? I always bought ready-made olives and have no idea how they were processed. I can’t wait to try this when I’m in Greece.

  18. Ivy, as someone who has picked olives, brined and cured them, and pressed them for oil, I fully appreciate this posting. Indeed, it is now the table olive picking season in the Peloponnese, my in-laws called us the other day and told us they had just finished picking the olives that are to be cured for eating; of course, the oil olives always come later.

  19. This is one long process, but i am sure it taste absolutely delicious..It reminds me of our mango Pickle ..Thanks for sharing .
    My cousin Sister and her Husband are living in Cyprus and they would love this info on Olives…
    hugs and smiles

  20. Carla

    Where can I buy these in Greece.

    Are there any suppliers?




    • Ivy

      Sorry I can’t help you.

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