It’s important to note that though the term is still Lye-Cured, the mineral lime is actually used now instead of Lye to cure olives.
The olives are soaked in the lime and water solution, then washed repeatedly afterwards. They are usually brined afterwards for a short while to help the taste.
Curing in lime is faster and more cost-efficient than curing olives in brine, but because it leeches a lot of the flavour out, it also produces the least flavourful result. Some feel as well that a slight chemical taste is left behind.
Lye-Curing is one of five possible methods for curing olives with, in order to draw out their bitterness and prepare them for use as Table Olives.
The Romans invented curing olives with lye. They obtained lye from wood ashes.