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Olive Oil (Liquid Gold)
There are 3 main types of olive oil found
on the supermarket shelves:

Extra Virgin, Extra Light or Light and
Ordinary (Pure) Olive Oil

This is what it means:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
The connoisseur will know this is “THE finest quality”. Extra Virgin Olive oil is made from the first pressing of perfectly fresh olives and usually processed without excess heat (cold pressed) thus maintaining the flavor, aroma and health benefits. To make the grade of “Extra Virgin” it must have a free acidity level (free fatty acid) of no more than 1% (usually 0.8%) and excellent aroma and taste. Extra Virgin olive oil is the top of the range when it comes to choosing your olive oil as it is full of health benefits and has a full fruity flavor ideal for using on salads.
(flavors also differ depending on the blend of olive cultivars and ripeness of the olives.)

Virgin Olive Oil
… is a slightly lower classification than Extra Virgin Oil. The free fatty acid should be no more than 2% per 100grams.

Pure Olive Oil or labeled as “Olive Oil”

… similar to “light” oils. The word “pure” is a marketing term. Pure olive oil is a blend of refined olive oils and a bit of the above categories of virgin olive oils, the latter being used to add some character to the almost flavorless
refined oil.

Light or Extra Light Olive Oil

… are chemically refined oils. They are much “lighter” in aroma and flavor. This does not relate to calories compared to extra virgin oils. In fact, all olive oils whatever they are called have a very similar kilojoule content and are cholesterol free.

Pomace Oil
… is a low grade oil taken from the final waste pulp. It is normally solvent extracted from the olive pomace. This should not be called olive oil and should only be used for soap making or industrial purposes. In most cases this is a blend of refined pomace oil with a small amount of virgin oil.

Lampante Oil
… is virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of more than 3.3% per 100grams. It is intended for refining or for technical use. It is a low grade oil really only suitable for burning lamps. It must be refined further for human consumption.

Refined Olive Oil
… is the oil obtained from virgin oils by refining methods that do not lead to alterations in the initial structure. It has a free acidity level of no more than 0.3%. This is obtained by refining virgin oils that have a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects that are eliminated after refining. Note that no solvents have been used to extract the oil but it has been refined with the use of charcoal and other chemical or physical filters. An obsolete equivalent is “Pure Olive Oil”.

 
   
   
   
 
 


Terms Commonly used:

Cold Pressing
A natural process of extracting olive oil by applying mechanical pressure to olive paste at a temperature less than 32 degrees Celsius. Thus getting less oil than if you were to press the oil at higher temperatures, but getting better quality oil and not harming any natural nutrients and vitamins in the oil.

Organoleptic Assessment

Samples are judged on clean appearance, colour
(from yellow to green, this depends on the ripeness of the olives eg: green olives would give a more green oil with a more distinct peppery taste than ripe, black olives), aroma and taste.
A panel of experts is required to assess and grade on a scale of 1-9. Extra Virgin oil is scaled at 1 but has a organoleptic scale of 6.5.

Olive Cake
Is the solid phase that remains after pressing the olives. Also called Pomace or Sansa.

Olive Oil should be consumed within 18 months of harvest as it does NOT get better with age. Oil does not improve with age like wine. A peppery oil may mellow a little. If olive oil is stored well, it tastes lively, vibrant and fresh for at least the full 18 months after production. Afterwards the flavor starts to fade, the oil may not be bad but it is probably quieter, less impressive and vivid.
OR it could be bad, in olive oil terms this is called rancidity… the oil tastes like peanut oil.

The colour of olive oil is dependent on the pigments in the fruit. Green olives, harvested early in the season, give a green oil because of the high chlorophyll content.
Ripe olives, harvested later in the season, give a yellow oil because of the carotenoid (yellow-red) pigments. The colour of the oil is influenced by the exact combination and proportions of pigments.

 
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