From a Bitter Fruit to Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – short: EVOO – is the healthiest fat known for thousands of years. Now in October and November are the months that you can see everywhere in Italy the green nets under olive trees and people harvesting. It’s a busy time in the country-side which results in delicious, green and thick olive oil.

In late autumn when the leaves start to colorize nature with red and gold it’s the time for olives. The harvesting-time can go as long as all November, it depends by the weather. But this is the period that you can see everywhere huge nets under trees and people handling strange sticks in the trees, others collecting the fallen olives. It’s a hard work with a very happy end.

For this year was the first time to harvest olives and to get my own olive oil. The place I stay has a couple of olive groves and last week we started harvesting. Only two people, the owner of the land and me. We started in the morning just after sunrise and stopped only when the sun was already nearly gone. Around 200 kg we brought every day to the olive mill.

The olive mill works only six to eight weeks, and, especially in the beginning, can be very busy. They work day and night, continuously to get the oil out of the olives as soon as possible. The longer they wait the more bitterness will be in the olive oil, the faster the sweeter, milder.

In the mill the olives are collected in bins, huge plastic containers. Before they can be worked they have to be cleaned from leaves and branches, they will be washed with clear water. Then they get crushed in a huge stone mill until the olives become a kind of paste. This nearly creamy olive paste is transferred now on round disks. These disks become piled up until the paste is finished. This olive paste column goes into a pressing machine where it stays for a few hours, until nothing comes out anymore.

The liquid is not only oil but also a lot of water. In another machine these two are separated and the clean, unfiltered olive oil comes out. It is olive green (though the collected olives are black when they are ripe) and very dense, thick. The smell is divine! You just want to put a slice of bread under the fresh oil and eat it right away!

It depends by the year, per 100 kg olives you get between 12 and 18 liters of olive oil.

About olive oil and the health properties you can read here.

We harvested until now only a part of the olives. Not all are ripe in the same moment, it depends by the kind of olive and of course the position where the trees grow, how much sun they get and much more. We still have to harvest I would say the same amount. We harvested 780 kg, 110 liters of healthy organic olive oil.

There are also some olive trees for eating. I am preparing some olives in brine. I will bring the recipe out when they are ready, so stay tuned!

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