You’re bound to see dozens of different bottles of olive oil sitting on the shelf the next time you walk through the grocery store—but have you ever asked yourself what all of the different labels mean or how long it takes to make olive oil? If so, you’re not alone.
We get many questions about olive oil production, which is why we put together this post to explain everything in more detail.
The different types of olive oil
Before we get into the actual production process, it’s important to understand these different categories of olive oil:
- Premium extra virgin olive oil: Premium extra virgin olive oil is the highest-quality olive oil out there in terms of acidity, aroma and flavor. Because of its bold flavor and high price, chefs typically use this oil as a dressing or condiment instead of for cooking.
- Extra virgin olive oil: To be classified as extra virgin, the olive oil’s acidity level must be lower than 1 This is another oil that’s best when it’s not heated.
- Virgin olive oil: Even though they’re produced the same way, an olive oil containing more than 1 percent of acidity is considered a virgin olive oil rather than an extra virgin olive oil. These oils are still high quality, but they’re best reserved for cooking instead of being used as a dressing or condiment.
The olive oil production process
The olive oil production process has remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years, particularly for extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a look at how it’s made:
- Harvesting: As you can imagine, the first step is picking the olives from the trees once they’re ripe. For the best results, olives must be picked directly from the tree and brought to the crushing facility within four hours. If you wait too long, the olives can start to ferment before they reach the next stage.
- Crushing: After they’re cleaned with water, the whole olives are crushed and turned into a thick paste of oil, water and vegetable matter. Although many manufacturers still use granite wheels as civilizations did thousands of years ago, some companies have transitioned to using stainless steel rollers for this process.
- Extracting: Next we extract the actual oil from the paste created in the previous step. This is performed without any heat. All a manufacturer does is spin the paste in a centrifuge. Since oil is lighter than water, it naturally separates from the water as it’s spun.
- Bottling: The oil extracted from the paste is then bottled and left to sit for one month before it’s shipped out for consumption.
Find the finest olive oils at Olivamed LLC
Look no further than Olivamed LLC for the highest-quality olive oil on the market. We work exclusively with exporters from Spain, Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean companies to ensure our customers get the best-tasting oils. Call today for information about our inventory or to learn more about how long it takes to make olive oil.
Categorized in: Olive Oil Production