Olive oil is an essential ingredient in many cuisines worldwide, and it is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree. The process of extracting olive oil involves several steps, and the method of processing can affect the quality and flavour of the oil. In this article, we will explore the various methods of olive oil processing and their impact on the final product.
- Traditional Pressing Method
The traditional method of extracting olive oil involves pressing the olives using a stone mill or a metal press. This method is also known as cold pressing because it does not involve any heat or chemical treatment. The olives are crushed into a paste, which is then spread onto mats or disks. The paste is then pressed to extract the oil.
The traditional method of pressing produces high-quality extra virgin olive oil, which is considered the best type of olive oil. The oil obtained using this method has a fruity flavour and a low level of acidity. However, this method is time-consuming and labour-intensive, making it more expensive than other methods.
- Modern Processing Method
The modern method of processing olive oil involves three main processes: crushing, malaxing, and centrifugation. In the crushing process, the olives are crushed into a paste using a mechanical crusher. The paste is then mixed or malaxed to allow the oil droplets to coalesce. The final step is centrifugation, where the oil is separated from the water and other solids.
This method is also known as the first cold-pressed olive oil extraction process, which avoids overheating and uses mechanical means only, with no chemical treatment involved. The modern processing method produces extra virgin olive oil, which is considered the highest quality olive oil. The oil obtained using this method has a fruity flavour and a low level of acidity, similar to that obtained using the traditional method.
- Olive Pomace Oil
Olive pomace oil is obtained by processing the leftover pomace, which is the solid waste obtained after the extraction process, including pits, skin, and flesh of olives. The pomace is extracted using hexane to obtain the 1%-5% of oil that’s left in the pomace. The oil is then refined with heat and chemicals to obtain a refined pomace oil.
Olive pomace oil is considered a lower quality oil than extra virgin olive oil, and it is often used in industrial and commercial applications. It has a neutral flavour and a higher level of acidity than extra virgin olive oil.