-- Olive Oil
Olive oil is the oil that comes from the fruits of the Greek olive tree, picked by hand and produced only by mechanical means.
The oil is produced in oil mills by cold or hot pressing the olive fruits. The olives must be harvested before they are ripe, when they are still green or dark purple, because the quality of the oil is much better than the oil produced from ripe fruits. Olives are harvested by hand or, when ripe, by shaking the tree. They are stored in wooden containers or crates and in well-ventilated areas to prevent fermentation. In several instances, pressing is followed by filtration.
One of the production processes is the method of cold pressing at low temperatures, under controlled hygienic conditions. In combination with other processes, the result is a high-quality product with a wonderfully fruity taste and balanced aroma, preserving all the valuable properties of the natural olive juice.
Modern oil mills are independent industries. The oil mills are well ventilated, dry and have thermal insulation. There are, however, smaller oil mills on farms, the ‘liarovia’, where the processing is undertaken using traditional methods.
In olive mills, the processing starts with weighing, separating and washing the olives with plenty of water. The olives are then placed in wooden crates and transported on elevators to a large container at a high point in the mill. From there, they fall through funnel pipes to the olive press, which consists of crushers or millstones. After the first crushing and squeezing, the first oil is extracted and the olive pulp remains. The pulp is transferred to a second oil press (with ascending cylinder pressure), from which the second oil is extracted. Finally, the third extrusion takes place, during which the pits and residue of the olives are collected in special containers and placed in boilers where they are stirred and heated to a temperature of 80°C–90°C.
Olive Oil Qualities
Unripe oil is oil that is produced before the olives ripen.
It is produced by crushing the unripe green olive that has not yet wrinkled. The olives are harvested early in mid-October, picked from the trees by hand and processed within 24 hours.
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality of olive oil.
It is produced from high-quality fruits using mechanical methods. It has very low acidity.
Virgin olive oil is a good quality olive oil with a slightly higher acidity than extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil is a mixture of virgin or extra virgin olive oil and refined olive oil.
The olive harvesting season begins in November (sometimes at the end of October). The olives are transported to the mills immediately after harvest. Appropriate handling of the fruit both during and after harvest is crucial to maintain a low level of acidity.
In the mills, the olives are crushed by mechanical means in order to extract the precious oil. Since at this stage, olive oil contains microparticles due to squeezing, it is filtered to make it clear.
Olive Oil Preservation
- • Olive oil should be stored in tightly-closed, opaque, glass bottles or stainless steel containers so that it does not come into contact with light and air.
- • It is ideally kept at a temperature of 10°C–15°C for about eighteen months.
- • It can withstand high temperatures without altering its composition, so it is also ideal for frying.
- • Olive oil has an expiration date.
Olive Oil and Health
Science has only recently begun to discover the true value of olive oil and the Greek diet. Greece consumes the most olive oil in the world, its residents live longer than residents of other countries and they have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
THE SECRET IS IN THE OLIVE OIL
DISCOVER IT YOURSELF