Olive Oil - from the Tree into the Bottle
How do Olives become Olive Oil?
The olive harvest in Umbria and Tuscany traditionally takes place from mid-October to mid-December, depending on how early the olives mature. This year the olives had to be harvested very early because high temperatures in September and October had led to an early maturation .
Due to the early harvest this year's yield was only slightly more than half as in other years, and the olive oil vintage 2016 is therefore all the more precious.
The earlier the olives are picked the lower is the quantity of oil but the better is the quality of the oil measured by its degree of acidity. Olive oil from La Rogaia has a very low content in acidity (less than 1g in 100g of oil). Very mature olives contain more oil but also more acidity, with a negative influence on the oil’s taste and durability.
For harvesting big nets are placed under the trees and the olives are picked by hand or stripped off the twigs with small combs. The olives drop on the net and are collected later on after having sorted out the leaves.
The olives are stored in thin layers in wooden or plastic boxes.
Olives should not be kept longer than three days as they might start to mould. After three days at most they are taken to an oil mill close by.
At the oilmill
At the mill the olives are first washed, then ground. From this mash the oil is obtained by pressing. In a last step the oil is cleared in a centrifugue and filled into large containers of stainless steel.
The yield in oil from cold pressing only by mechanical means is about 10 to 15 %. That means in order to obtain 1 kg of oil one needs about 7 to 10 kg of olives. In one day an experienced olive picker can pick about 50 kg of olives: One day of work for only about 5 to 7 ½ kg of oil, not to speak of all the preparatory work during the year!
It is a very special pleasure is to taste the freshly pressed olive oil right at the mill: Thick slices of white bread are roasted on the open fireplace and sprinkled plentifully with oil - a slightly bitter, inimitable taste of olives, grass, earth, autumn ...
The fresh oil still contains some solid parts from the pulp. Therefore it is turbid and of an intense green colour.
The olive oil should mature for some months until it gets its golden colour. It is decanted several times but not filtered.
Conservation and Use of Olive Oil
Your oil is best before 18 months after pressing. Keep it in a dry and cool place and always in glass or stainless steel containers, never in plastic or tin cans.
The cold pressed olive oil is best when used raw on salads and antipasti. If you use it for cooking you will loose the unsaturated fatty acids but your dish will still be tasty.
When using it for cooking and frying please do not first heat the oil and then add the cooking ingredients (vegetables, meat etc.) but put everything together in the frying pan, place on the stove cold and heat slowly. Only that way the ingredients can soak up the precious elements contained in your oil and the vitamins are not destroyed by a “heat shock”.
Read more about the cultivation of olive trees at our blog "About crowncut and tree.combers"
Adopt an olive tree at La Rogaia
Would you like to become the proud owner of an olive tree and get your own olive oil?
With an olive tree sponsorship at La Rogaia you can make a unique gift to yourself or to a loved one!
Or would you like to pick your own olive oil and experience the way of the olives from the tree into the bottle?
With us in La Rogaia you can do that!
In our culinary autumn week, you can also witness the olive harvest and experience an olive pressing and olive oil tasting - as well as the legendary cookery courses with Mamma Ornella, spectacular gourmet tours and much more.