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Marinated Olives Are The Ultimate DIY Holiday Snack

We'd like to make a case for marinating your own.
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By Sheela Prakash

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photo by Diane Fields

A bowl or two of marinated olives are an essential part of any good cocktail party, whether it's your annual holiday bash or just a casual gathering with friends. You can find olives marinated in everything from garlic to herbs to chili peppers at the grocery store, but we'd like to make a case for marinating your own.

After all, you probably already have all the ingredients you want to flavor your olives with just lying around your kitchen. Olive oil? Check. Spices like oregano and red-pepper flakes? Check. Garlic? I bet you have some hiding somewhere. And like everything else homemade, DIY marinated olives just taste better.

Sure, you'll be giving up the fun of picking and choosing from the encyclopedic selection at your favorite olive bar, but when you make them at home, isn't it just more fun? You can experiment with different herbs and spices to make a mix that is all your own. Call it your house blend of olives and you're sure to impress your holiday guests. They might prove so popular that you'll start sending folks home with their very own jars.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

Soak your olives in alcohol.
Booze makes a lot of things better, including olives. Soak a mix of Italian red and green Cerignola olives in gin, dry vermouth, and lime juice to made a heady snack that's also great to pack up and give as a gift.

Get the recipe: Boozy Olives

Bulk up olives with feta cheese.
Crumble feta into olives that are marinated with whole spices and fresh herbs to add an extra salty kick. Serve the mix to your guests alongside baguette slices.

Or turn up the flavor even more with anchovies.
These marinated green and black olives turn to anchovies for extra flavor. They're mixed in along with thinly sliced fennel and plenty of minced garlic and onions.

Get the recipe: Toni's Marinated Olives

Brighten olives by marinating them in citrus and fresh herbs.
Marinate olives in both the zest and the juice of lemons and oranges along with chopped fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro to put a fresh spin on Kalamata and green olives.

Get the recipe: Citrus-Martinated Olives

Serve your marinated olives warm to bring out all of their flavors.
After being marinated with a whole cinnamon stick and citrus zest, these tiny green Picholine olives get warmed up on the stove to enhance their flavor and texture.