What is the difference between organic olive groves and non-organic olive groves?
The organic farming methods used in combination with the experience, knowledge, tradition, and modern technology offer high quality products and expertise.
Here, there no room for fertilisers, chemical spaying or any alterations in the way olives are processed. Organic olive groves could be seen as a perfectly working natural engine working at low torque. Consequently, the olive grove produces but simultaneously takes minerals and micronutrients maintaining the balance of the grove and the soil. Significant amounts of main nutrient elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are removed annually from the olive grove because of the plant`s needs for vegetative growth and production. As a result, in case the captive quantities are greater than the available reduce production is noticed unless such elements are supplemented. The number of elements to be added to every grove soil depends on the soil type, the available stocks, the followed cultivation practices (pruning, irrigation, etc.) and the annual production.
The fertilisation of an organic olive grove aimed at improving the productivity of the soil and at boosting the strategy that ensures long-term improvement of soil texture and soil structure in parallel with the fertility increase. Fertilising the olive tree should be based on a conservation program and revitalising of olive groves soil. This method is based mainly on the method of green manure with legumes, grasses or mixtures, of addition of compost from organic materials, and of addition of animal manure, which strictly comes from organic farming animals.
How is the price of olive oil set?
Peroxide value measures the oxidation state of the oil, by determining the concentration of peroxides in the sample. The peroxides are primary oxidation compounds that occur during processing and storage of oil, as a consequence of the presence of oxygen. In a second stage of oxidation, the peroxides decompose in different final products of oxidation. The peroxide value is used to determine the categories of oil. To classify an oil as extra virgin, the maximum peroxide value must not exceed 20 kilograms per kilo for olive oil. UV absorption spectrum is another indicator used to determine the quality of the oil. This measurement provides information about the quality of the oil situation and in particular to determine the extent of oxidative deterioration. It is measured at two wavelengths, 232 and 268 nm. In the first wavelength absorb primary oxidation products (conjugated peroxides), while in the second the secondary oxidation products (aldehydes, ketones). The difference (DK) absorption gives information on the state of oxidation of the oil. The lower the value, the higher the quality of the oil, with a maximum value 0.01 for the `extra virgin olive oil`. Regarding K232 it must be below 2.5 and K268 below 0.22. They indicate the state of oxidation by detecting specific oxidised compounds and also, detect possible adulteration with refined oils. The parameters that define the quality of olive oil in percentages are: oil mill 60%, ripeness stage 20%, variety and various diseases mainly olive fruit fly 15%, local conditions 5%.
How can we test olive oil?
Using a glass of white wine, which can capture the different aromas, we start by smelling the olive oil. A good quality olive oil has pleasant aromas, like the smell of fresh olives, green grass, fruits or even spices. The aroma of each olive oil depends on the location of the olive tree used to produce the oil, the soil conditions, the trees and plants around it, the methods used to collect and process the fruit and so on. Unpleasant smells like that of mould, dirt or metallic mean that the olive oil is of low quality or is beyond its shelf life.
The next step is to try its taste. To do that, you take a sip of the olive oil and let it flow slowly inside the mouth before swallowing it. High quality olive oil leaves a bitter taste on the tongue and pungency, a burning sensation in the throat which does not last long. The moderate bitterness and the peppery taste mean that the olive oil is of high quality.
How to preserve olive oil
Dark glass bottles are the best containers to preserve olive oil because glass is a solid and inert material. Dark glass is necessary because light oxidises when it is exposed to light. Anyway, it must be kept in dark and cool places. For a short period of time, oil can be stored in containers made from other materials which are specially processed to be suitable for food storing. Also, oil can be preserved in the fridge or freezer prolonging its life, in particular green olive oil which stays fresh for about 9 months after its extraction.
What are the `enemies` of olive oil?
Light, oxygen, heat and metal are the four enemies of olive oil. In order to preserve its natural ingredients and attributes, olive oil should be stored in room temperature, inside dark glass bottles, with air-tight lids, that protect it from light and air exposure. Clear plastic bottles should be avoided. Finally, the oil tin should be new and used as a temporary storing container. Once it is opened and the oil level drops the remaining oil should be placed in smaller containers to avoid air exposure inside the tin.
Can olive oil be consumed immediately after its extraction?
Contrary to what people think, fresh olive oil can be consumed immediately. I addition, if it is properly stored, it can be consumed 2 years after its production having maintained not all but most of its valuable properties.
Is olive oil really beneficial to our health?
Olive oil is not only rich in vitamin E but also contains monounsaturated fatty acids (up to 83%) and antioxidant substances known as polyphenols (oil acid, oleuropein, squalane). These substances have beneficial effects on stomach, duodenum and cardiovascular system. They also help lower bad cholesterol (HDL) and increase good cholesterol΄s (LDL) levels. It is thought to act proactively against cancer and osteoporosis.
Is olive oil more fatty than other oils?
Contrary to what people believe, olive oil contains 9 calories per gram just like seed oils which are considered `lighter`.
Is olive oil appropriate for cooking and frying?
Scientific researches have busted the myth that olive oil is not suitable for frying. Olive oil is ideal for frying. Because of its chemical composition, it is more resistant and healthier than any other oil. It is 5 times more resistant in high temperatures in comparison to seed oils (when oil cannot stand up to high temperatures, it begins to break down and becomes harmful for one`s health). The same oil should not be used more than 2-3 times. Of course, as it has a special taste, it can be consumed uncooked (e.g. in salads) and replace butter, mayonnaise, seed oils, cream etc.
How do I decide which olive oil to buy?
It is not advisable to buy anonymous oils, which we do not know and trust the producers, because they can be adulterated (e.g. with old oil). On the other hand, the label is the only way to know if the oil we pay for, e.g. for extra virgin, has these characteristics as well, since all elements (category, sharpness, etc.) are written on it - and passed through checks.
What are the olive oil categories?
Under current quality classifications `virgin olive oil` is the oil obtained only by mechanical or other physical means, with conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation or filtration. So, `virgin olive oil` is the `natural juice` of olives and contains all the beneficial nutrients (vitamins, micronutrients, microelements, etc.) the olives contain.Under current quality classifications `virgin olive oil` is the oil obtained only by mechanical or other physical means, with conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation or filtration. So, `virgin olive oil` is the `natural juice` of olives and contains all the beneficial nutrients (vitamins, micronutrients, microelements, etc.) the olives contain.
Virgin olive oils can have four different designations depending on their content in free fatty acids (acidity) and some special characteristics typical of each category:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (acidity ≤0,8%)
- Virgin Olive Oil (acidity ≤2,0%)
- Olive oil - consists of Refined Olive Oils and Virgin Olive Oil: It is a mixture of refined-lampante olive oil which is processed, and its acidity reaches approximately one degree
- Olive Pomace Oil is a mixture of refined Pomace Oil and Virgin Olive Oil. It has a soft taste and is ideal for frying.
- Lampante Oil (acidity >2,0%) (it can be used for industrial purposes, or refined to make it edible).
GREEN OLIVE OIL - The extra virgin olive oil of the first unripe fruit of the olive has a rich, fruity, spicy odour but also a characteristic bitter taste. All of its features "overflow" with youth, momentum and intense personality. Usually available in limited quantities and produced by the best olives. Fresh olives, gathered by hand and not by sticking or dropping. Due to its rare "temperament", green olive oil has a limited life span of 9 months. Green olive oil, rich in antioxidants by nature, combines superior taste with high biological value. It can be used immediately or a few months later if kept in the freezer. It has extra low acidity. Early harvest extra virgin olive oil can be more expensive and hard to find than other extra virgin oil since unripe olives produce less oil. 10kg of green olives are needed to produce 1kg of oil. It can be consumed uncooked in a salad or neat as breakfast. After 9 months it usually becomes virgin olive oil, but it has lost some of its extra properties.
Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the oil that comes from olive groves that follow the organic regulations. Only in the production of this olive oil there no room for fertilisers, chemical spaying or any alterations in the way olives are processed. Also, during malaxation the paste should be heated to maximum 27 °C so as not to affect the polyphenols and other nutrients. Extra virgin is the highest quality olive oil, characterised by perfect flavour and aroma and maximum acidity of 0,8% (in oleic acid).
Can bitter oil can be good?
The bitterness of the oil, depending on the intensity, may be pleasant or not - however, it is by no means considered a defect, but an asset. Other assets of the oil - very important, because the biological value of the oil is inextricably linked to its good taste and smell - are its aromas, which can be fruity or remind chamomile or marjoram, as well as another characteristic that has to do with the taste, the pungency. It is an intense sensation characteristic of the Greek oils produced at the beginning of the olive oil period, mainly from olives which are still immature. It spreads throughout the oral cavity and disappears a few seconds after the test. What we should be careful about is not to confuse this feeling with that of an old oil, when the sensation is too troublesome and maintained for much longer.
Does colour play a role?
No, it simply has to do with chlorophyll and olive variety and is not related to the quality or biological value of the oil. If, of course, the very light colour is associated with high fluidity and low density, it may also be poor quality.
What to look for in a high quality oil.
At the oil you choose, look for the good taste and smell. These are its advantages and are
closely linked to its biological value. Its flavours may be fruity or remind of chamomile or marjoram. Regarding to the taste, look for bitter and spicy. This is a great feeling, characteristic of Greek olive oil that is produced in the beginning of the season, mainly from olives that are still immature.
Oil is strongly influenced by weather conditions: in rainy seasons it contains less antioxidants.