For oil classification purposes two types of analysis are required, the first analysis on the chemical parameters of the oil, such as the content of oleic acid, and another sensory analysis for which it is essential to carry out a tasting, that is to carefully sample a product, subjecting the olives to the senses, in particular the sense of smell and taste, and attempting to classify the oil by searching for possible weaknesses or strengths.
Classification of Olive Oils from the highest to lowest quality:
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): 100% oil extracted directly from the olive which must meet certain physicochemical criteria and must not have any negative organoleptic attributes.
• Virgin Olive Oil (VOO): 100% oil extracted directly from the olive which must meet other chemical criteria less restrictive than EVOO and may have a certain level of negative organoleptic attributes.
• Lampante Olive Oil: 100% olive oil that, due to its intense organoleptic weaknesses and physicochemical parameters are not suitable for consumption, and must be refined.
• Olive oil (OO): oil obtained from the olive oil blend from refined and virgin olive or extra virgin olive oils. The refining obtains that a lampante oil is fit for consumption.
• Olive Pomace Oil (BOO): oil obtained from the blending of the olive pomace oil and virgin and extra virgin oils processing. The raw olive pomace is one of the derivatives from the milling of the olive and must be refined for its proper consumption.
The olive tree is one of the most beautiful trees that are known to exist. Its fruit is the olive, which is used in many cooking recipes and home remedies. This olive tree is an evergreen tree, with an extremely gnarled and twisted trunk, and can grow up to 10 metres high, even though some specimens can grow twice as high can be found which is quite impressive!
The olive tree a slow growing and very long-lived tree, it can live hundreds of years and the existence of some which are over 2000 years old is known, quite extraordinary! Its long and deep roots acquire the scant moisture that the trees require, which is why these trees can live in poor soils, but cannot withstand the cold, as temperatures below 8 degrees can kill them off.
The olive is fleshy and oval shaped, and even when not yet ripe, possesses a typical green colour, and when ripe it turns pinkish or black. From these olives the olive oil is extracted.
The olives are harvested between October and March. In order to obtain a good quality oil 3 aspects must be considered:
1.- The harvest time, the polyphenol content changes throughout ripening and coincides with the time when the maximum amount of oil in the fruit is reached. The colour of the oils undergoes changes in relation to the time of harvesting the olives, changing from a green to a yellow-gold colour which is so characteristic of the olive.
2.- The origin of the fruit is essential for obtaining quality oils. If coming directly from the tree a high quality oil possessing an intense fragrance and strong attributes, known as Extra Virgin is produced. While the fruit harvested from the soil deteriorates the quality of the oils obtained.
3.- The harvesting system, must be that system which produces fewer breakages in the fruit and protects of the health of the olive tree. The most commonly used harvesting system is the mechanical system as its reduces damage.
The last of the field operations which corresponds to the farmer is the transport of the olive to the oil mill. The best transport method for the harvested olives is the plastic box with special holes which facilitate ventilation and help disperse the heat produced by the fruit's catabolic activity.
The transport of the soil and tree harvested olives must be carried out separately and the transport system used must keep intact the integrity of the fruit.
The fruit is unloaded in the olive reception yard, passing through the various reception lines depending on the quality of the fruit, in order to clean and remove any possible impurities from the olive, which through conveyor belts will find its final destination in the oil mill, a machine capable of cutting that fruit and transforming the olives into a mass from which the juice of the olive will be subsequently extracted.
The purpose of the milling is to transform the olive into a mass and to undertake the shaking and racking process so as to obtain a high quality extra virgin olive oil. The shaking is carried out using a machine and it is recommended to work at temperatures not exceeding 25-30ºC so as to obtain a good quality and avoid the loss of aromas and flavours which characterise a good extra virgin olive oil.
Once the mass has been shaken and the first signs of oils are obtained, that mass is racked in order to separate the solid parts of the mass (pulp, bone, and other derivatives which that will be subsequently usable) of the solid part which will be our extra virgin olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oils are stored in cellars until their later packaging and making available to consumers of high quality oils.
The cellar is fully equipped so that the product is kept under the best conditions, its walls and ceilings are temperate insulated and do not produce strange odours. Having available a heating system which does not emit odours and maintains auniform temperature, approximately 15-18ºC, which enables the oils to ripen, and avoid oxidation: low luminosity and being easily cleanable.
The packaging of extra virgin oil should contribute to preserving the product in the best possible conditions to ensure that it is fit for consumption. The entire use chain, commensurate both in the field as well as in the processing and storage, in which the last link may be broken if the packaging is not correctly undertaken.
An exhaustive cleaning control is established to avoid environmental contamination,a temperature, light, atmospheric, hygienic conditions control of the packaging warehouse is carried out in order to contribute to the production of a sublime and extraordinary extra virgin oil for the consumer.
The distribution of oil and its consumption in the world
Worldwide, a total of 11,512,015 hectares earmarked to olive growing and planting are currently registered. A 13.59% is earmarked to table olives, while 86.61% is earmarked to olive oil production. Europe, and mainly Spain, is the world's major olive growing producer, followed at a considerable distance by the other continents.
The main exporters are Spain, Italy and Greece, with Spain being the exporting country par excellence. Noteworthy are countries with high EVOO consumption rates such as: United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Australia or China.
Olive oil represents 3% of the oil consumed worldwide, and every year continues to scale positions. Imports of olive oils worldwide increases in those countries that know how to recognise the benefits and importance of the EVOO, for health and the environment.
Did you know that olive oil is good for your health, for our planet and for enjoying with our loved ones?
Olive growing benefits the environment, improving the soil and serving as a shield against desertification and erosion. It is estimated that the world olive oil production could absorb the carbon dioxide emissions of a city of over 7 million inhabitants. Imagine the olive groves throughout the world breathing and capturing all CO2 emanating from a city the size of Hong Kong or Madrid!
The consumption of extra virgin olive oil has health benefits, reduces blood pressure, prevents atherosclerosis and protects against myocardial infarcts, helps slow the development of rheumatoid arthritis and the loss of bone mass.
Imagine sun, beach, mountains, a meal with friends, a leisurely conversation! Olive oil is present in most of the events of our life, it brings all its flavour and aroma transforming the most humble foods into authentic delicacies.
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The olive consists of: the skin, the pulp from which 70% of the oil is extracted and the pit from which 30% of the oil is extracted. Half of its composition is water. Virgin olive and extra virgin olive oils are actually authentic olive juice!
Around May or June small white and green flowers grouped into a cluster are formed. Pollination is facilitated by the wind. In the early summer months the first green fruits are formed. The olives cannot be consumed as they appear in the tree. Those intended for the table olives are processed in order to be edible.
There are many types and varieties of olives, both for raw consumption and oil production.
But the 10 most important and significant Spanish varieties are as follows: Arbequina, Blanqueta, Cornicabra, Empeltre, Farga, Gordal, Hojiblanca, Lechín, Manzanilla, Picual.
Drag the cursor or slide your finger to see the different parts of the olive.