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What does make olive oil an “extra virgin” oil

What are the difference between extra virgin olive oil and ordinary olive oil ? What does make it extra virgin? In the following lines you can find the answer to all your questions!

The difference between ordinary olive oil and extra virgin olive oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest grade for olive oil. In the past It was produced from the mechanical “press”. This press applied several hundred pounds of pressure and produced the condition in which water and olive oil from the mash seep out the mats and drop into collection vats. In this way the olive oil was allowed to settle and any vegetable water was removed either by centrifuge or decantation.

Olive oil extracted from this mechanical press was described as ” virgin” olive oil because it had the features of purity, unrefined and unprocessed factors.

The production in our days

But nowadays the production of extra virgin olive oil is based on a new and more quickly production thanks to continuous type crusher (also called modern) that uses the centrifuge to produce what we all of us knows as Extra virgin Olive Oil. These modern crusher have 3 operating cycles. In the first step olives are washed and defoliated, then they are sent to the oil mill that releases olive paste. This olive past ( added to water) is sent to centrifuge which separates the pasta into its three components: pomace, vegetation water and must oil. At the end oil and vegetation water are sent to the centrifugal separators to extract the final extra virgin olive oil.

The virgin olive oil becomes extra virgin if it has less than 0,8% free oleic acid, and if it exhibits a superior taste, color and aroma. “Extra” word means also ” premium” or simply ” the best”.

The ordinary olive oil instead is actually a blended oil product.  For instance olive oil producers start with low quality virgin oils that they must be refined with the mechanical, thermal and chemical process. At the end of this process the olive oil produced is a colorless and tastless olive oil. And for this reason the producers blend into the refined olive oil a percentage of quality extra virgin olive oil to provide color and taste. And thanks to this process come out the ordinary olive oil.

The quality is the same for every product belonging to this category?

No, the answer is absolutely no! Like wines, extra virgin olive oil can vary a lot in taste. It is depending upon the type and the quality of the olives that is pressed, the time of harvest, the weather during the growing season and the region from which the olives were produced. So, when you are buying one extra virgin olive oil bottle, read the label on it and don’t believe that every product has the same features.If you are buying an IGP or D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil you are making the good choice. If not be careful to the suggests explained before.

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