How is olive oil produced?
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  • How is olive oil produced?

Olive oil is a staple food in many cultures around the world, and its global market is one of the most important in the agri-food sector. In this post, we will explore the fascinating journey of olive oil, from the olive to the oil.

Olive cultivation

The process begins in olive groves, where olives are grown. The climate, soil, and olive variety are key factors that influence the flavor and quality of the oil. Olive trees require a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot, dry summers, to thrive. Regular pruning and proper tree care are essential to ensure a good harvest.

Olive harvesting

The harvesting of olives is a crucial step. It is typically done from late autumn to early winter. Harvesting can be done manually or mechanically, depending on the size of the olive grove and local tradition. Harvesting at the optimal maturity point is essential, as it directly affects the flavor and properties of the oil.

Oil extraction

Once harvested, olives are quickly transported to the mill to prevent degradation. Here, they are washed to remove impurities and then crushed, including the pit, to form a paste. This paste undergoes a process of malaxation, which helps to release the oil from the pulp. Then, by centrifugation, the oil is separated from the water and remaining solids.

Decantation and storage

The extracted oil undergoes a process of decanting to remove any remaining impurities. No heat is used in this process to preserve the characteristics of the oil. Finally, the oil is stored in optimal conditions, protected from light and heat, to maintain its freshness and quality until it is ready to be bottled and sold.

Quality and classification

Olive oil is classified into different categories, based on its quality and production method. Extra virgin olive oil is of the highest quality, followed by virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. Quality standards are rigorous and are based on acidity, flavor defects, and other chemical and sensory parameters.

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