Olive Oil production has been around for centuries, and although the thought of donkeys pulling enormous stone wheels around in circles provokes a very romantic idea evoking the old-world sense tradition of hard work, most olive oils today are produced in clean rooms with extremely technical equipment.
This modern equipment is often extremely complex and overwhelming, however, the benefits are incredible. The modern processes are highly dependent on controlling temperatures and filtering out waste and contaminants to ensure the final product is of the highest quality. This allows presses to produce superior oil that is healthier and available to consumers at a much lower price which is something that benefits everyone!
We invite you to enjoy this video which takes you on a tour of our olives being pressed, and we’ve explained the major steps below:
1. The cleaning process
First and foremost, the olives are cleaned when they arrive at the press. The stems, leaves, twigs, and any other debris and dirt are removed via a water bath or being blown away by a large blower. After this step, we are left with gorgeous clean olives to create our oil.
2. Grinding the olives
Similar to the old world donkey and stone wheel mills, the olives are crushed into a thick paste to help release the oil from the fruit. Crushing the fruit helps to release the oil from its cells, and while the technology used in this step varies, one can imagine any progression from the stone wheel is a welcome one.
3. Malaxing (mixing) the paste
Malaxing or mixing the paste for a fixed amount of time helps to collect the oil from smaller droplets into larger ones. This is a vital step in which gives the oil its quality, texture, and flavour.
4. Separating the oil from the solids
Turning the paste into oil was formerly done with presses, which involved layering many sheets covered in paste on top of each other and “pressing” the oil from the paste. This is where we first heard the term “cold press”. Modern methods have improved with the introduction of centrifuges, and the paste is introduced into a centrifuge ( multiple long cylindrical tubes that spin at high speeds). As the paste spins, the oil and any moisture are pulled away from each other and separated into large tanks or barrels.
5. Filtering and additional processing
After spinning we are now left with a very pure product that is generally very green and often still quite heavy with sediment. This “raw” oil in most cases must sit for a predetermined amount of time to let the organic matter settle to the bottom. The raw oil has a very earthy smell which many people love, and which also adds considerably to the flavours of food. The downside to the raw oil is that it is often quite murky and inconsistent. To create a clear product, Parthena oil is introduced to a filter that removes any excessive sediment and polishes the oil to a beautiful green-golden colour.
During this step, it is common for other producers to add a variety of different additives, preservatives, or enzymes to try and increase their yield and in turn their profits. At Parthena, we made sure no additives of any sort are put into our oil.
It is also important to note that many olive oils from around the world are being bottled at Olive Oil “pools” or large centers. These pools are generally a mix of oil of varying quality, various regions or countries, and flavours. It is very important to stay away from brands that label their oil as “blends” as they typically have additives, dyes, and therefore are not pure olive oil. Ideally, if you don’t mix your wine, why mix your oil?
Parthena Olive Oil comes from neighbouring farms so we know exactly where each and every olive originates, which allows us to passionately quality control our oil down to the very last drop. Being involved in every step of the process helps us ensure our oil is of the highest quality.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.