From Olives to Olive Oil
The production of olive oil has remained largely unchanged for centuries and is carried out exclusively with mechanical and not chemical processes. Ripe olives or olives that are about to ripen are ground immediately after the harvest in autumn with their kernels. The olive oil is then separated from the remaining skin, pulp and core by pressing or centrifuging. It is then essential that the olives are transported to the oil mill on the same day and processed the next day at the latest. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is considered a food with a long shelf life. However, during storage EVOO undergoes several compositional changes that reduce its quality. If the olives are stored too long between harvest and pressing, unwanted fermentation processes start to work on the olive fruits which means it quickly loses its fresh, crunchy aroma, essentially degrading the quality of the final olive oil.
Removal of other particles is also essential to the final appearance and color of the oil. Oil extracted from the olive paste contains plant tissue, making it naturally turbid. Turbidity can deteriorate the quality by promoting oxidation of olive oil. Oxidation not only affects appearance but results in the development of rancid odors and flavors which can decrease the nutritional quality and safety of the oils, as well as reduce shelf life. Particle elimination and increased shelf life can be achieved with specific filtration solutions which meet the quality levels expected of olive oil.