Extra virgin olive oil and quality

Creating an extra virgin olive oil requires special conditions and care. What are the factors determining its quality?

Starting from the olive tree, in addition to the variety (race), the soil and microclimate where the tree is located play an important role. In general, semi-mountainous and mountainous areas produce excellent fruit, due to the ideal temperatures and ventilation during fruit growth. Soil is also an important factor, as olive trees require high concentrations of phosphorus, potassium and boron.

Cultivating care is the next very critical stage for production. The trees must be pruned properly and special care must be taken during the period when natural invaders, such as the olive fly, appear on the tree.

The way and time of harvesting the fruits requires a special and careful process. The fruit changes color as it ripens and that is a very good period for harvesting. During the process, manual harvesting is the best, as it does not hurt the tree and the fruit remains intact and clean.

After the fruit collection process is completed, the fruit must be transported in small quantities, so that it is not strained, and at temperatures up to 15 oC. Excessive heat and humidity can cause fungal growth and degrade the final product. For this very reason, oiling (extraction) is done immediately in order to shield the quality and aroma of the olive oil and always with the method of cold pressing (25-30 oC).

Olive oil storage is a process that must be followed by the producer and up to the consumer. Olive oil should not come into contact with direct sunlight, which is why it is bottled in special glass bottles with a UV filter or in opaque containers.

The good quality of an extra virgin olive oil requires high and demanding processes, just like those of a good wine.