Olive oil is a natural "live" product that evolves over time. The specific composition makes it more stable than other foods but is not immune to variations due mainly to oxidation caused by contact with oxygen and for effect of light. Therefore an EVO oil changes its characteristics over time and to appreciate its taste and properties should be consumed no later than 18 months from the bottling date.
The quality of EVO Oil is determined on the basis of a series of parameters which are dependent on various factors, among which the most important are the production area, the type of cultivar, the times and ways of harvesting, the milling process. To get an high quality EVO oil it is essential that:
- the olives are harvested in the right period, with a still incomplete maturation.
- the quality of an oil depends on the type of olives used, each has its own flavor, which depends on the type of cultivar, the climate of the places where they are grown, the stage of ripeness of the olives.
- the olives must be healthy and without insect bites.
- tthe olives must be collected in small perforated boxes for aeration and taken immediately to the mill to be milled as quickly as possible.
- The milling temperature and the subsequent kneading must be around 25 ° - 27 ° for a maximum time of 20 / 30 minutes (these values refer to cultivars typical of the DOP Umbrian areas, such as Moraiolo and Leccino).
- The oil should be left to settle for a few days and to get decanted to separate the coarse oil from the bottom and then filtered before being bottled.
- The oil should be stored in tanks without air and at a temperature between 15 ° and 20 ° in dry rooms and especially in the dark.
Extra virgin olive oil is a food that has nutritional and metabolic characteristics that make it unique in taste, aroma and fragrance. The medical and nutritional sciences have had the opportunity to analyze these peculiarities during the numerous studies carried out, to verify their contribution to nutrition and human health. It is also a healthy and genuine condiment that is able to enrich our diet with essential fats and special vitamins. In fact, currently the attention of the food sciences is no longer addressed to the reduction of fats in the diet but to the balanced and continuous replacement of saturated fats with foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
It is important to know that compliance with the basic conditions for the production of quality EVO oil directly affects the production cost and therefore the selling price. This is to explain the substantial price differences between oils that are generally marketed as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, rather than between quality EVO oils with different geographical origins.
Let us take as an example some of the phases of production by relating typicity to the relative implications.
Harvest olives at the right time when ripening is not yet fully completed
- Olive oil with acidity extremely low
- High presence of poliphenols that exalt spicy and bitter notes and preserve olive oil antioxidant properties over time
- Higher effort to remove the olive from the plant;
- Less yeld of olive oil per quintal with higher impact on production costs
Production area/Cultivar type
- From combination of type of cultivar and environment (climate and soil) we get the specific oil tastes (ie DOP Umbria with blend of Moraiolo, Frantoio and Leccino) while keeping acidity low and poliphenols high
- Less yeld in quantite of olive per tree and less yeld of oil per quantity of olive, with subsequent highe impact of production cost
Manual Harvest (Cropping / Beating)
- The olives are removed from the plant without compromising the physical state that would initiate processes of alteration of the pulp
- The plant does not suffer traumas that would affect the life and quality of fruits
- Intensive use of personnel with a cost per unit of product much greater than the collection by mechanical means (without mentioning the collection on the ground)