How Is Olive Oil Made?
I may have just answered the question you never thought to ask how is olive oil made? Just because you don’t buy olive oil very often doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know how it’s made and what makes good olive oil different from bad olive oil.
To help you navigate the world of olive oil and how it’s made, I’ve outlined everything you need to know below.
Step 1: Gathering
The first step to producing olive oil is to gather olives. The fruit must be fresh (picked within 24 hours) and free of defects, disease, or damage; any faulty fruit can’t be used for oil production. Next, olives are washed in water before grinding and pressing into pulp.
It takes about 10 pounds of olives to produce one liter of olive oil! The best way to store these raw materials is at temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live somewhere with a cooler climate, make sure your storage area has proper insulation that keeps out extreme heat and cold. Finally, keep an eye on your stock: it will start going bad after six months if not kept properly refrigerated or frozen.
And as always, only buy what you need. You never know when they might go bad. In fact, olives will start to turn sour two weeks after being picked. This process is known as Brettanomyces oxidation – if left unchecked, it leads to olive-oil spoilage.
To prevent it from happening, try using antioxidants like vitamin E during storage. They’ll help slow down oxidation so your oil lasts longer.
And don’t forget to check your supply every few months, just to be safe. It may sound tedious, but checking up on your supply every once in a while could save you time and money in the long run. Who knows how much longer that open bottle of olive oil has been sitting there? Better safe than sorry.
Check your expiration dates and get rid of anything that’s nearing its limit. As a general rule, all oils last one year from their best date but extra virgin olive oil tends to last about three years because it doesn’t contain preservatives.
And remember: old does not mean spoiled! Just because something has expired doesn’t mean it won’t taste good anymore it just means you should use caution when eating or cooking with it. So why take chances? Get rid of anything that’s over a year old and replace it with new goods. That way, you’re guaranteed a fresh product every time you reach for it.
Step 2: Harvesting and Crushing
Olives are harvested and, soon after, their flesh is pressed to release oils into a mill. The olive residues left behind (including pits and skin) are collected as pomace and processed further to make pomace oil, according to Tom Mueller of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.
Pomace oil is a bitter yellow or greenish liquid with an unpleasant odor that’s used for soap-making. After olives have been crushed, they’re soaked in water to leach out the remaining oil.
This watery solution called mash is then filtered through cheesecloth to separate it from any solid matter. The mash is then put into large tanks where bacteria break down any remaining matter and turn it into acetic acid, which makes up vinegar.
Finally, what remains is called pure extra virgin olive oil. If you want to know more about how exactly how pure extra virgin olive oil is made, watch these two videos by Saveur magazine: How To Make Olive Oil and How To Taste.
How Is Olive Oil Made Step 3: Filtering and Blending: After crushing, mills filter the oil through different filters. It takes time for the clear green oil to settle at the bottom of tanks before it can be bottled. While freshness isn’t a major concern when making olive oil, many producers use heat or chemicals to expedite evaporation which allows them to bottle quicker and sell cheaper than competitors who go slower.
Step 3: Production of Virgin Olive Oil
Since olive oil is extracted by mechanical means, instead of with chemicals or heat, it’s considered a cold-pressed oil. In production, olives are ground into a pulp with water; then they’re soaked in pits or tanks for at least two weeks to soften their skins and flesh.
The resulting mash is pumped out of its containers, where centrifuges separate much of its water from its solids. The remaining liquid called must is combined with more fresh water and sent through filters that catch any remaining solids (which are sold as table olives).
The must is then heated to between 118°F and 165°F (48°C–74°C) to make it easier for machines to extract its oils.
Afterward, it’s cooled back down and separated into three layers: an upper layer of solid particles (or sediment), a middle layer containing emulsified oil droplets suspended in water (or wine), and a lower layer consisting mostly of unfiltered water. It’s these last two layers that get blended together before bottling.
A final step involves adding antioxidants such as vitamin E to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. And that’s it! You now know how olive oil is made, from start to finish.
Step 4: Bottling and Storing: At bottling plants, machinery fills bottles quickly and automatically.
Oftentimes, companies will add flavorings to help mask inferior quality oil or other additives to extend shelf life.
It may not be quite as simple as pulling a bottle off a supermarket shelf, but once you see how much work goes into creating your favorite condiment, you’ll understand why it’s worth every penny and maybe even consider making your own next time you’re in need of some extra virgin olive oil.
What are some other popular cold-pressed oils? While olive oil is by far one of the most common, there are plenty of others. Here’s a quick rundown: Soybean oil is extracted from soybeans and used for cooking or as an ingredient in salad dressings and sauces.
It has a neutral flavor and high smoke point (meaning it can be heated to very high temperatures without burning), making it ideal for frying or sautéing foods.
Refined soybean oil also contains fewer nutrients than unrefined varieties; however, unrefined soybean oil may go rancid quickly if not stored properly.
Flaxseed oil comes from flaxseeds and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Flaxseed oil tends to have a strong taste that many people don’t like but its health benefits make it worth getting past its strong flavor.
Step 4: The Refining Process
There are three main steps in olive oil refining: washing, chemical, and physical processing. During these processes, rancid oils, water and waxes are removed from your clean olives (which were in fact very dirty) to create a purer form of olive oil.
These refining processes can vary depending on region, country, and desired end-product. For example, an Italian oil may not undergo as many refining processes as an American or Turkish one because they desire more flavor in their final product.
The most common refining process is called Cold Pressing. This is when fresh-pressed olives are placed into a centrifuge where it spins at high speeds while simultaneously being heated up to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The centrifuge then separates out any remaining water, leaving behind only pure olive oil.
If you’re interested in learning more about how different countries produce different types of olive oil, check out our post The Best Olive Oils Around The World for some fun facts.
The process is not as simple as it sounds. There are a lot of steps involved before we can get to that delicious, healthy oil. Let’s take a look at how it all happens: In order to make extra virgin olive oil, olives must first be harvested and cleaned.
This is usually done by hand since harvesting machines damage olives and create an inferior product. Then they are crushed into a paste called pomace which includes skin, pulp, and pits from each olive. The pomace is then mixed with water and left to ferment for up to two weeks.
During fermentation, natural yeast and bacteria break down pectin (an indigestible carbohydrate) in the fruit to form alcohol. The alcohol content gets high enough to kill off any remaining yeast or bacteria so that only lactic acid bacteria remain these turn malic acid into lactic acid during fermentation.
After fermentation, solids and liquid are separated through centrifugation or decantation. The solid portion is pressed to extract as much oil as possible while leaving behind any sediment. This final product is what we call extra virgin olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has several health benefits including reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease, and even fighting cancer cells. However, there are many factors that determine whether Extra Virgin Olive Oil is actually good quality or not.
Step 5: Storage and Grading
Storing and grading your olive oil is equally as important as growing and making it. It’s best to leave a bottle in a cool, dark place at room temperature.
Light and heat can easily spoil your oil if you don’t put it in a spot that won’t expose it to those elements. Never store olive oil in its original container if you are not going to use it within 30 days of opening, otherwise quality will diminish very quickly.
Some people prefer to keep their extra olive oil in smaller bottles or jars so they can see how much they have left. That way they know when it’s time to order more.
However, storing your olive oil in clear glass containers may cause light degradation over time, which is why some people choose opaque bottles instead. As for grading, an expert taster will grade your olive oil based on color, aroma, and flavor.
The highest grade would be Extra Virgin Olive Oil, followed by Virgin Olive Oil and then Pure Olive Oil. The lowest grade would be lampante oil, which has no flavor or scent. Lampante oils are used for industrial purposes only such as soap-making.
olive oil is highly regarded as one of nature’s most healthy fats and adds rich flavor to dishes. With olive oil, there are usually subtle differences between oils depending on where they were grown and how they were harvested.
pure olive oil makes up about 80% of all olive oil produced; however, many brands use chemical solvents during extraction to remove any impurities that might lower shelf life or taste. These solvents can remain in PO even after processing and end up posing serious health risks over time if consumed regularly.