QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR OLIVE OIL
“As a consumer, pay attention to good quality, which can only be offered at a reasonable price. You can recognise good quality by the indication “extra virgin olive oil”. Seals such as “Bio” or “Öko” are also strictly controlled and are subject to a certification procedure. In addition, top oils have often taken part in competitions and have performed well in blind tastings among experts. You can also rely on suppliers who can guarantee the origin and purity of the oil and guarantee its quality. Larger batches can be mixed. Become suspicious if there is no clear proof of origin.”
Extra virgin olive oil should always taste fruity, bitter and spicy. Depending on the variety and time of harvest, these three basic flavours are different. And, like wine, everything here is a question of personal taste. Does a Merlot taste better than a Cabernet Sauvignon? You can argue about that and you won’t get an objective result.
The situation is similar with extra virgin olive oil. One likes it a bit more bitter and hotter, the other less. In the fruitiness two different characteristics can be distinguished: On the one hand there is the taste of the slightly greener fruit, on the other the taste of the slightly riper olive. Here, too, there are different preferences in the individual taste, comparable to bananas. Even slightly green bananas taste different from almost black bananas. The same applies to virgin olive oil. The somewhat earlier harvested, still somewhat green olive tastes differently than the even riper black one, which is about to separate from the tree.
Olive oil from earlier harvested fruits tastes more intense and reminds already in the smell of green fruits. Olive oil from fruits harvested later smells and tastes slightly milder, like a riper fruit.
Due to the gentle treatment olive oil is a genuine natural product. It is said to have an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant effect in connection with stress. It mainly contains fatty acids, including many monounsaturated fatty acids. Polyphenols, also called bitter and pungent substances, give the olive oil its incomparable taste.
Wax, natural alcohols from the fruit and chlorophyll as a colouring agent give the oil its unmistakable colour.
Our main variety Morisca has a percentage yield between 15-20% depending on the degree of ripeness. To produce one litre of extra virgin olive oil, we need between 5 and 7 kilos of olives. Our “younger” (about 60 years old) trees carry about 20 to 50 kg. Our really “older gentlemen” with a few hundred years on their backs can produce over 100 kg with a good harvest.
Large productions with irrigation in flat areas have cost advantages in various respects. A very large part of the maintenance can be done mechanically. Pest control in non-organic production is often carried out chemically. Harvesting is carried out with combine harvester-like tractors, which drive through the narrow olive tree lanes and shake the olives from the tree.
In smaller – and ecologically certified – companies at hilly altitudes, almost the entire process is laborious manual work, only partially supported by machines. This starts with ploughing on slate and stony soils and ends with setting up scent traps for pest control. In order to protect themselves against the olive fly that often appears here, each tree is “attached” to a scent trap. This is a week-long detail work.
The harvest is also a work from tree to tree. The harvesting team is accompanied by a tractor that “embraces” the olive with an umbrella and then shakes it. However, a team of four with one tractor only manages between 2000 and 5000 kg on average per day, corresponding to 60 to 120 olive trees.
This additional expense is naturally reflected in the price calculation.
Olive oil should always be stored away from light. Also make sure that the bottle/container is airtight so that it does not come into contact with oxygen unnecessarily and cannot oxidise. The olive oil does not like heat any more than too cold temperatures. If possible, buy olive oil in dark bottles or containers and store them in a dark place where they are also protected from heat.
A good olive oil has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months. Good olive oils also have a best-before date. However, please make sure that you store them properly in order to have some of your olive oil reserves for a long time.
Even after the olive oil has passed its expiration date, it is not directly bad and inedible. It becomes rancid over time.