Olive oil is a fruit juice, derived from the olive. The word olive means “fruit with oil”. The olive is made up of three parts, the skin,the pit and the pulp.Its is about 70 percent juice, which is a mixture of oil and water, depending on the olive this ratio on the average is about 40 to 60 % water and 10 to 30% oil.
The other 30% is solid material from the seed,skin and pulp, solid material which we try to recycle back into the earth. The skin gives us about 3 % of the oil,the pit is good for about 1% of the oil and the pulp contains most of the oil which is roughly 50%.
The oil is made up of six fatty acids: Oleic and Palmitoleic which are monounsaturated Fats; Palmitic and steric which are saturated; and linoleic and Linolenic, which are poly-unsaturated fatty acids. The scientists classify the oil as a monounsaturated fat because of the predominance of Oleic acid.
The secret to producing a healthy superior tasting oil is attention to detail.For a list of olive oil tasting terms click here.
The watering schedule before harvest is very important.Monitoring for the destructive olive fly.Hand harvesting with clean harvesting bins will prevent the fruit from being damaged or bruised which immediately starts to oxidize the cell walls of the skin.Stems,leaves,dirt organic material need to be removed so the oil will not take on the taste of the foreign material. And last but most important is processing of the olive. How to make great oil?
The secret is to start with a good quality olive,hand harvest because machine harvesting bruises fruit and damages the trees.Getting the olives to the mill within 8 hours after harvesting is best to prevent fermentation and other negative effects from sitting on a loading dock.When storing the oil protect it from oxygen and light and heat. The best storage temperature is 57 deg f.
Finally do not store the oil in the refrigerator and when at the store stay away from infused or flavored olive oils due to accumulation of condensation which can host bacteria.Best to add herbs at the time of meal preparation.