What is extra virgin olive oil? What differentiates it from virgin olive oil?

It is an ancient product, it is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, it has incredibly valuable properties for health, it is found in our homes and it is a complement to meals and a favorite companion to salads.

Yes, we are referring to olive oil.

It has always been with us and, even so, we do not know exactly what it is, how it is made and why there are some called virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil or EVOO. If ever these questions have haunted your mind, or rather it is the first time that you ask yourself, since Bodegas Altanza will solve all your doubts so that the next time you go to a supermarket and choose to buy an oil, you know very well what you are taking home.

What is olive oil or EVOO

The olive oil or EVOO is neither more nor less than the juice of the olives that is obtained by pressing them. There are several methods to obtain it, among which are the traditional or pressing (in disuse due to the work involved), and the mechanical.

The latter is based on a centrifugation process that greatly shortens times. Depending on the quality, it will be classified as virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

How olive oil is made

Although it seems that the process is simple, the reality is that obtaining olive oil is a laborious, methodical and delicate process.

1. Selection of olives

The olives must be healthy, ripe and whole . It is also recommended that they are in their sixth or eighth month, since it is the time when they have the most oil inside.

2. Washing and preparation

It is best to take a maximum of 24 hours between harvesting and grinding, because a longer time can lead to fermentation, which would oxidize the oil and cause it to lose quality.

Before starting the process, it is essential that the olives are washed with dechlorinated and decalcified water , as well as the leaves, branches and even stones that have been strained so that the final product does not acidify.

3. Crushing and whipping

Milling or crushing is the first step to obtain the oil, because in this process the cells of the olives are crushed and the first oil is obtained.

There is a second step that is to beat the dough that is obtained, that is, the pulp, the water, the bone. This process makes the oil easier to obtain . It cannot be beaten in any way, it must be done with great care and at a very slow speed to prevent it from coming into contact with air and increasing its acidity.

4. Centrifugation and filtering

At a temperature below 35 degrees, the mass enters the centrifuge and the high speeds separate each of its elements, leaving the water and the pomace outside the machine and the oil in the middle.

Once everything has been separated, it is filtered to remove the last impurities so that it can be stored.

5. Olive oil

From here, the product is almost identical to what we see in any supermarket. The color that we obtain will be due to the variety of olives that we use and their maturity , but in general it must be bright and of a golden hue.

This oil is stored in large stainless steel drums located in rooms that have a constant temperature of 15 degrees and where there are no light or bad smells.

6. Tasting and bottling

The first to be done to measure the result and quality of the oil obtained. If the taster gives the go-ahead , it is bottled so that it does not spoil.

7. New tasting, marketing and storage

Before marketing it, a final tasting is carried out to verify that the quality has been maintained and that none of the properties have been lost . The oil that is not distributed, will be stored in a room that does not reach the light and is kept at a temperature of 14 to 20 degrees.

Differences between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil or EVOO

Although both are olive juice, there are a series of parameters that determine whether an oil receives the name “extra” or not. It should be clarified that in Spain all oil produced already starts from the classification of virgin olive oil, being the extra virgin oil, also known as EVOO, the highest quality on the market .

All olive oils that want to receive the qualification “extra”, such as that of Bodegas Altanza , must:

  • An acidity of less than 0.8º.
  • No defect in the tasting, that all the flavors and aromas are felt without any predominant over others.

In addition, the extra virgin olive oil from Bodegas Altanza also falls under the organic classification, which indicates it as an olive oil that has been obtained without the use of chemicals, herbicides or fertilizers; thus helping to conserve the environment.

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