THE NOT SO HUMBLE OLIVE - It is said that olives have heart and the oil has soul.
After 40 days of flood Noah saw an olive branch in the beak of a dove, ever since then the olive tree has been a symbol of peace and rebirth.
The ancient Mediterranean’s thought OLIVE OIL had magical properties. The Romans bathed their bodies in olive oil to preserve their beauty. Olives have been revered for their nutritional qualities and exceptional flavor. Andalusia was a huge part in the production of oil for the Roman Empire due to the climate here.
Romans cherished their famous LIQUID GOLD and used incredible amounts of it for cooking. However, they also used OLIVE OIL as fuel and it is said that they even used it to light the earliest OLYMPIC TORCH!
Olive farming is the very ESSENCE of Andalusia and Spanish cuisine. The sun drenched landscape on which this healthy, tasty and exotic little fruit grows, the colour and passion which is everyday life in Southern Spain. OLIVE OIL is one of the main ingredients of the MEDITERRANEAN diet and is rich in vitamin E. It can turn a dish of roasted vegetables into a feast and the golden flavor dripped into creamy alioli is sheer magic. The extra virgin OLIVE OIL has many health benefits. It is great for the cardiovascular system, promotes bone growth and calcium absorption, excellent for preventing skin ageing, preventing cancer and diabetes.
4-5 kg of OLIVES are needed to produce 1 litre of oil. Each mature tree produces 15-20 kilos of olives, or 4-5 litres of oil. There are over 750 million olive trees cultivated worldwide. Spain is, not surprisingly, the LARGEST PRODUCER of olive oil (approx. 40 per cent), with Italy coming in second (25 per cent). Andalusia is the largest olive oil growing area on earth.
SPANISH OLIVE OIL is often exported to other countries (eg Italy) for its bottling and packaging, hence the true origin of the oil is often unclear.
This exporting of ANDALUSIA'S OLIVE OIL to Italy has gone on for centuries – at the height of the Roman Empire, as much as four million gallons of oil were transported each year from Baetica (Andalucia) to Rome.
Such was the scale of the trade that one of the Hills of Rome (Monte Testaccio) is actually the ancient world’s largest rubbish dump – a 150 foot-high mountain of discarded amphorae, the ceramic jars used for importing the oil. Each one of these 25 million jars had its own export data stamped on the inside of the pot - information which was designed to limit fraud, such as the merchant’s name, place of export, plus the weight of the jar and oil etc.
Most of the plantations in SEVILLE Province grow olives for the table, except the more recent ones which are laid down for vineyard harvesting. The colder climate in JAEN and north CORDOBA gives bigger crops and higher yield. The olive grove landscapes design in each area depends largely on the history of the place and the olive that has adapted to the conditions of soil, climate and the needs of the farmer.
Olive trees are slow growing, traditionally bearing fruit after fifteen years, though modern production techniques have brought maturity down to five. A tree is thought to reach maximum productivity after 40 years, and after 140 begins to decline, though thousand-year-old trees can and do still bear rich loads.
HARVESTING THE OLIVES
TRADITIONAL OLIVE FARMING is spacing of twelve meters which is described as EL MARCO REAL or THE ROYAL MEASURE. The resulting space between the rows was used to accommodate crop farming, vines or the grazing for the animals kept at the olive farm. This generated income to compensate for the lack of olives when the trees were still at a young age.
INTENSIVE OLIVE GROVES are different to the so-called TRADITIONAL plantations because of their HIGH PLANTATION DENSITY. In other words, they are distinguished by the HIGH number of olive trees that co-exist on the same hectare of soil, between 200 and 600, frame is of at least 6 meters, as well as the distribution of the trees, which are planted with just one foot in the soft soil and generally equipped with a watering system.
Another difference is that, compared to the conventional crops, they offer the possibility of entirely mechanising the harvest, thus making it possible to obtain HIGHER PRODUCTION yields. The estimated useful life of this crop type is over 40 years.
For their part, the SUPER-INTENSIVE OLIVE GROVES — also known as the hedgerow olive grove system because of their characteristic linear distribution — are characterised by having a plantation density of between 1,000 and 2,000 trees per hectare, which are harvested with machines along narrow aisles of about 1.5 meters. In this case, the useful life of these plantations is positioned at between 12 and 14 years, on average.
Most olives today are harvested by shaking the boughs or the whole tree. Another method involves standing on a ladder and milking the olives into a sack tied around the harvester's waist. This method produces high quality oil.
A third method uses a device called an OLI-NET that wraps around the tree trunk and opens to form an umbrella-like catcher from which workers collect the fruit. Another method uses an electric tool, THE OLIVIERA, that has large tongs that spin around quickly, removing fruit from the tree. Olives harvested by this method are used for oil.
Olives are harvested in the autumn and winter. Green olives are picked at the end of September to about the middle of November. Blond olives are picked from the middle of October to the end of November, and black olives are collected from the middle of November to the end of January or early February.
Once the olives have been collected and taken to the co-operativa they are then downloaded into the hoppers and the CLEANING PROCESS begins. By a band of conveyors the olives are sent to the cleaners to remove all the stems and sticks that they may bring with them. This is followed by WASHING the olives to remove mud and all the stones. Once clean they are WEIGHED and sent directly to the bins or waiting for subsequent GRINDING. They are arranged in STORAGE HOPPERS for classification of different varieties, HOJIBLANCA, ARBEQUINA, PICUAL, etc .
THE MILLING – this is the process that obtains various TYPES of oils. Once crushed the olive mass occurs and proceeds to the entry into the plant and is deposited in the mixers. After going through the beaters they are separated from the mass of the oil by centrifugation alpechin vertically and any solid particles that could have stayed with the oil is separated.
Once the oil is in the SETTLING TANKS, vertical steeping this for the separation of the residual water remaining in the oil. Once fully rested and clean the oil is sent to the warehouse for storage and subsequent sale either in bulk or packaged.
There is an AMAZING VARIETY when it comes to OLIVES in Spain, however, not every variety of olive is consistently used to make oil! Of the 100+ varieties found in Spain, about 24 are regularly used in the oil making process, each one with a distinct, delicious FLAVOR.
This precious LIQUID GOLD is growing in sales worldwide and that is why the growing sale of OLIVE OIL has also generated an increase in the production and cultivation of the olive while the olive oil price remains higher than the other oils.
Not all types of OLIVE OILS are equal, like wines, and have a sensory complexity, both aromatic and gustatory high. These differences in olive oil depend on the land, preparation, variety and origin of the olives used in the mill. The culinary greatness in olive oil completely changes the dish in their presence, aroma and flavor.
Among the types of OLIVE OILS in order of quality can be classified into:
• MARC OLIVE OIL. Obtained from olives remains after removing virgin olive oil. Then mixed with virgin olive oil and refined. The maximum acidity of 0.5 º.
• OLIVE OIL. It is the mixture of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. The latter is the oil from poor quality or lampant, which has undergone a process of purification. The maximum acidity of 1.5 º.
• VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. It is the oil obtained solely by mechanical means under conditions that do not cause oil changes and has undergone any chemical treatment. The maximum acidity of 2 °.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. It is the oil obtained directly from olives in their ripest, using only mechanical processes and better conditions for obtaining optimal. Its high acidity does not exceed 0.8 °.
• ORGANIC OLIVE OIL EXTRA. For consumers who want the best in-store deli can find olive oil organic extra virgin. The price of this is considerably more expensive, but it is a true gourmet product, because this is produced by cultivating the olive without chemicals, giving even better qualities.
Olive oil has a long history of being used as a home remedy for skincare. EGYPTIANS used it alongside beeswax as a cleanser, moisturiser, and antibacterial agent since pharaonic times. In ancient GREECE, the substance was used during massage, to prevent sports injuries, relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid buildup.
In 2000, JAPAN was the top importer of olive oil in ASIA (13,000 tons annually) because consumers there believe both the ingestion and topical application of olive oil to be good for skin and health.
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