Production Of Olive Oil
Olive oil is a pale yellow to greenish oil extracted from the fruit of the European olive tree (Olea europaea L.), which originated in the Mediterranean area. The olive is originally native to the eastern Mediterranean region but the cultivated form is now grown throughout that area and in other parts of the world with Mediterranean-type climates. It hardens at refrigerator temperatures - around 10 degrees F.
Today a market certainly exists for olive oil, since the U.S. imports about 35 million gallons each year. Interest in the health aspects of olive oil is expanding and increasing demand each year. Demand has increased over 20% each year for the last 5 years. California produces about 300,000 gallons of oil each year about half of that is sold each year as the gourmet treat classified as extra-virgin and sold from $10 to $40 per half-liter.
Among global producers, Spain leads with more than 40% of world production, followed by Italy and Greece. Much of the Spanish crop is exported to Italy, where it is both consumed and repackaged for sale abroad as Italian olive oil.
Different Grades Of Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. There can be no refined oil in extra-virgin olive oil.
Virgin olive oil with an acidity less than 2%, and judged to have a good taste. There can be no refined oil in virgin olive oil.
Olive oil is a blend of virgin oil and refined virgin oil, containing at most 1% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
Olive-pomace oil is a blend of refined olive-pomace oil and possibly some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but it may not be called olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely found in a grocery store; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants.
Lampante oil is olive oil not used for consumption; lampante comes from olive oil's ancient use as fuel in oil-burning lamps. Lampante oil is mostly used in the industrial market.
OLIVE OIL CHEMICAL COMPOSITION
Olive oil is a triacylgylceride (three fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone). Technically it is a type of glycerolipid. Triacylglycerols (Triglycerides or Fats) are the major energy reserve for plants and animals.
A fatty acid has the general formula: CH3(CH2)nCOOH where n is typically an even number between 12 and 22
PRODUCTION PROCESS DESCRIPTION
There are many methods of producing Olive oil. Traditionally, olive oil was produced by beating the trees with sticks to knock the olives off and crushing them in stone or wooden mortars or beam presses. Nowadays, olives are ground to tiny bits, obtaining a paste that is mixed with water and processed by a centrifuge, which extracts the oil from the paste, leaving behind pomace.
The process of producing a high quality olive oil is described below.
The first step in making high quality olive oil is to...