amazing olive oil

Olive oil making process

Olive oil: From tree to (dark) bottle

Olive oil has been produced for thousands of years and is renowned for its health benefits and culinary versatility. Making olive oil involves several stages, from harvesting the olives to extracting the precious oil.

The first step in making good olive oil is the careful harvesting of the olives. Typically, olives are hand-picked to avoid damaging the fruit. Harvesting occurs when the olives are fully ripe, usually in the autumn. The timing is crucial, as it affects the quality and flavour of the oil. The olives are carefully collected into baskets or nets, ensuring they remain intact and free from contaminants.

Once the olives have been harvested, they are sorted to remove any leaves, twigs, or damaged fruits. This can be done by hand or using mechanical equipment. The harvested olives are then washed thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities. This step is essential to maintaining the purity of the oil and eliminating any potential off-flavours.

After sorting and cleaning, the olives are crushed down into a paste. Traditionally, this was done using large stone mills, where a large circular stone pressed the olives against a stationary stone, crushing them into a thick paste. Nowadays, mechanical crushers or hammer mills are often used for this purpose. The paste is then malaxed, which involves gently stirring the olive paste to help release the oil droplets.

Once the olive paste has been thoroughly mixed, it is transferred to a press. Traditional presses use a hydraulic mechanism to apply pressure to the paste, squeezing out the oil. The oil and water mixture is then separated from the solid components through centrifugation or decantation. Modern olive oil production often employs centrifuges, which separate the oil from the other liquids more efficiently. This stage is crucial for obtaining high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

After extraction, the olive oil may undergo filtration to remove any remaining impurities or sediment. Filtration can be done through various methods, such as using fine sieves, filter papers, or centrifuges. Once filtered, the oil is typically stored in stainless steel containers or dark glass bottles for protection from light and oxidation. Proper storage conditions, such as cool temperatures and airtight containers, help preserve the oil’s quality and freshness.

It’s important to note that while the process described above represents the traditional method of olive oil making, modern techniques and equipment may vary. However, the same goal remains, to extract the flavorful and nutritious oil from olives while preserving its natural qualities. The art of olive oil making continues to be cherished around the Mediterranean and beyond, with each region imparting its unique characteristics to the final product.

It is good to note that Liguria Ristorante only uses the best olive oil in our dishes to deliver that fresh, authentic taste of Italy in every plate we serve.