Olive Oil

Olive Oil -

Is made from the tree-ripened fruit of the Olive and commercially holds first place among vegetable oils. The best is that from the small fruit extensively cultivated in the section of Southern France formerly known as Provence; the Lucca district, Italy, and California. The highest production is generally from trees growing on rocky hillsides. A climate of uninterrupted warmth is essential - a cold spell during the months of November and December will often render the fruit hard and the oil of inferior quality.

In regions where quality is of paramount importance, the fruit is carefully plucked by hand. As soon as possible after gathering, it is carried to the nearest mill, for the manufacture must commence within ten to twelve hours, ripe olives having a tendency to rot, to the great detriment of the oil. The result is that, as a general thing, a number of small mills are scattered throughout each district.

The olives are first spread out and slightly heated for about twenty-four hours, as this renders the extraction of the oil easier by expanding the oil vesicles. The process requires much skill and experience, as even slight over-heating will damage the product. The fruit is then ground or crushed to a paste until the oil begins to swim on top. The paste goes into round baskets made of rush or alpha weed, called "scourtins," or into sacks of similar materials, or iron hoops covered with crash, and a certain number of the receptacles are piled together, with or without slat-grating between, and subjected to gentle pressure. This first oil is of the finest quality and is called "Virgin Oil." For the second pressing, more force is employed and is continued until nothing further can be extracted in that manner, the oil thus obtained varying in grades and value. The paste is then saturated with boiling water, and subjected to a third and fourth pressing by hydraulic power, but the resultant oil is used only for industrial purposes, for the manufacture of soaps, etc.

The oil as extracted by pressing contains a considerable percentage of water and some vegetable matter. This may be removed by repeated "settling" and "decanting." By another method, the oil is put in tanks and mixed thoroughly until it presents a milky appearance. Then fresh water is added and this, as it passes through, takes with it the greater part of the fruit-water, leaving the oil to rise to the surface. This product, skimmed off or "decanted," is known as "unrefined" or Crude olive oil. If made by one of the old style firms, it goes next to underground cellars or vaults, where it is allowed to settle for about a fortnight, when the cleared oil is run off and filtered several times. It is then ready for market. One hundred pounds of olives will yield an average of fifteen to twenty pounds of edible oil, i.e., oil of the first pressings.

From the press, the oil goes to a small round separator tank, kept nearly full of water, being ejected into it, near the bottom, through the outlet of a pipe running down the side and making a short turn up into the center of the bottom of the tank. Just below the oil-jet, is a water-jet which keeps the oil-flow and the main body of water gently but constantly agitated, with the result that the heavy impurities fall to the bottom and the oil drops rise to the top, where they are drawn off through a faucet.

The oil thus obtained is "settled" in the funnel-shaped apparatus and is then passed through cotton-wool into the settling tanks, where it is allowed to rest for about a month. It is next "racked off" into other tanks, the process being repeated two or three times in lieu of additional filtering processes.

As olive oil is very sensitive to foreign odors and flavors, manufacturers are obliged to use the greatest care in handling and storing it. The leading manufacturers stock their finished marketable oils in vaults, with walls of glass tiles to facilitate the most scrupulous cleanliness. The merit of the finished product depends upon many different points - the quality of the fruit, its condition when picked - for neither unripe nor over-ripe fruit will give the finer grades - and the methods of refining, etc.

The best test is its color - that of a golden or straw yellow tint is best. If it is of greenish hue, it is either an inferior grade or it has not been well refined. When fresh and of good quality, it is of sweetish, nutty flavor.

Italian olive oil is more fruity in flavor than the French, and has a more decided olive taste. Some people enjoy this, but the majority prefer the French, as it is more neutral, softer and more delicate. There is an increasing demand among the best class of customers for the finer grades of California olive oil, which in flavor and purity alike have attained front rank.

olive oil should not be exposed to extremes of light or temperature. Light will fade its color, heat will make it rancid and cold will cause it to congeal and separate. Cold does not however injure the quality.

Housewives would find it profitable to employ olive oil more generally for cooking, etc. In the average American household it is used only for salads and salad dressing, but it is also excellent for frying - it can be heated to higher temperature than either lard or butter and it has no disagreeable odor or flavor. Now is it expensive, in spite of the general impression to that effect, for one gallon of oil is equivalent to seven and a half pounds of butter for cooking.

After all deep frying, such as fritters, doughnuts or French fried potatoes, the oil should be carefully strained and placed in a clean, tight bottle for further use.

Arround Olive Oil in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


The Grocer's Encyclopedia
TOP 200

Recipes home
  English cuisine
  *** Star recipes ***
  Healthy food
  About us

Web SuperCooking.NET

Step-by-Step cooking guide on SuperCooking.Net copyright © 2006-2010 by Quid United Ltd.
About all question please contact: supercooking {-@-} quidunited.co.uk