There are several hundred varieties of olives and a very good oil can result from most of them, however only as long as the fruit is healthy, the olives are ground on the day of harvest and the oil is properly stored.
In order to produce a very good olive oil, the olives must be ground within a few hours after harvest before the water in them begins to ferment and the oil oxidises.
The longer olives are stored after harvest and not processed, the worse the quality of the oil will be.
In contrast, the gourmet olive oil (first cold pressed) is extracted from green olives before they are fully ripe (harvest in October / November) and overwhelms though its first-class quality exquisitely intense and fruity taste.
The best and also most expensive method of harvesting is hand-picking or manually stripping the olives with rakes or long sticks.
Olive oil should be tasted at room temperature, which is perfect for the full aroma spectrum to develop.
An olive is composed of:
- Oil: 18-32%
- Water: 40-55%
- Pit and plant tissue: 23-35%.