Top ten factors in producing quality olive oil
Although, we at OliveShop.com prefer to collect premium olive oils, instead of growing our own brand, we do receive many emails, on how can someone produce olive oil of high quality. So, we took the liberty of contanting some of the producers, we have on our catalog, and ask them, to provide us with some tips and tricks, in order to produce a fine product.
Here is a list of 10+1 tips, that a serious producer should consider:
1. The olive should be treated as a fruit. The delicate nature of a ripe fruit needs to be protected from pressure, temperature and abrasion. Breakdown of the fruit begins the fermentation and oxidation process creating defective oils. Affirmation of this premise is essential in producing quality oil.
2. Control disease and pests. Any pest that directly attacks the fruit must be controlled to prevent fruit decay.
3. Harvest and transport fruit with care and separate ground fruits. Do not compromise the integrity of the fruit. Limit the depth of containers to reduce pressure on the fruit. Ground fruit is second class fruit and should be kept separate from the fruit.
4. Classify, separate and process different classes of fruit separately. It is well known that different fruit qualities will produce different qualities of oil. Olive fruit should be separate at the processing facility by ground and tree fruit as well as variety fruit condition, ripeness or other sanitary condition. Give priority to the best fruit.
5. Do not store the fruit. Prolonged storage or slow working of the fruit is contrary to the production of quality oil. Oxidation and fermentation occurs in the stored fruit, which can lead to defects and off flavors in the oil.
6. Process the olives quickly and at a moderate temperature. Quality oil comes from fruit that was worked at temperatures below 86oF (30' Celsius). This is important for protection of the aromas and reduction of oxidation. Poor quality fruit worked at higher temperatures can actually reduce certain undesirable characteristics.
7. Sell several grades of oil. There should be a whole line of oils offered for consumption, at different prices, all classified by quality parameters reflecting the source of olives and oils produced.
8. Store the oil with care. Good storage is extremely important and will permit the proper aging and conservation of desirable flavor components. It is fundamental to store oil in clean stainless steel at temperature below 65oF (18' Celsius).
9. Keep everything clean. The failure to maintain cleanliness is major factor in reducing oil quality since olive oil can so easily become contaminated. Odors from the fermentation of waste products can get into oils in the processing plant. Cleanliness is especially important in the olive washing machines where the wash-water needs to be kept clean at all times.
10. Be an olive oil expert. Know just what it takes to produce, harvest, store, and process olives of high quality. Become familiar with the sensory evaluation of olive oil and be able to recognize the major defects that can appear in olive oil. Educate your friends or the people you are trying to sell to, about the different classes of olive oil, and help them to enjoy this noble food.
10+1… Love what you do. Everything that is produced with love and passion, is doomed to be successful. :-)