Bucklands Community Olive Oil project

WHAT IS OLIVE OIL?

  1. Olive oil is the pressed juice of olive fruit without additives.

  2. It is obtained only from the fruit of the olive tree.

  3. It does not contain oils from other plants and trees (hazelnut, canola etc)

  4. It cannot include oils that have been created using any refining or

    chemical processes and any mixture with other kinds of oils.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the oil extracted from fresh olives using a mechanical process without the use of excessive heat or any form of additives or solvents. In order for an oil to qualify as “extra virgin” oil must pass both an official chemical test in a laboratory and a sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel.

Refined olive oils are the olive oils obtained from olive oils by refining them. Refining is a complex process that involves the use of acids, alkalis, steam and other deodorising agents.
The refining process removes all of the oil’s aroma and flavour. ‘Pure’ and ‘Lite’ olive oil lack the aroma, flavour and any form of bitterness and pepperiness. In fact, the word ‘light’ only refers to the light colour, aroma and flavour of these oils.

EARLY AND LATE HARVEST OILS
These are simply different styles of olive oil. As their name suggests:

  • Early harvest oils are made from olives picked earlier in the season. As they are made from greener olives, early harvest styles are usually more grassy/herbaceous in aroma and flavour and have higher levels of bitterness and pepperiness.

  • Late harvest oils are usually milder oils and display riper fruit flavours with reduced levels of bitterness and pepper.

    EVALUATING OLIVE OIL

    Extra virgin olive oil is the extracted oil from the olive without additives or alteration. What is extracted from the olive is what you taste. Flavours are determined by:

1.

  • Type of olive (varietal),

  • Ripeness at harvest, Early harvest = intense and pungent, late harvest more delicate and

    sweeter.

  • Growing conditions (climate, soil type, rainfall),

  • Crop maintenance (irrigation, pest control),

  • Handling of fruit from tree to mill,

  • The milling process itself.

    LOOK AT THE OIL (Oil colour is not an indicator of quality)

Green vs. Yellow: The colour of an olive oil is related to the amount of chlorophyll it contains.

  • Olives that are picked relatively early in the season tend to be

    green and therefore make green coloured oil as they contain

    higher levels of chlorophyll.

  • Olives harvested late in the season will typically be more

    reddish and produce more golden coloured oils due to a higher level of natural occurring levels of carotene like substances and less chlorophyll.

2. SMELL THE OIL

First, we evaluate the olive fruit aroma (fruitiness) by inhaling from the glass.

The taster first registers the intensity and the nuances of odour. Their power, diversity, delicacy and stage of development depend on a number of variables including olive variety, stage of picking, age and treatment.

  1. Pour a small amount of oil (about 2 tablespoon) into a small tapered cup. Sniff the oil gently in short successive inhalations. Assess the oil:

  2. Hold the cup in one hand and use your other hand to cover the cup while swirling the oil to release its aroma.

  3. Uncover the cup and inhale deeply from the top of the rim. Think about whether the aroma is mild or strong. You may want to write down descriptions of the aromas that you detect at this point. Repeat several times after swirling the oil in the cup.

  4. The smells become more intense and more complex on contact with the air and wider the range the better the quality of the oil.

3. TASTE THE OIL

Taste the oil - after swirling.

1. Slurp the oil; this is done by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. Slurping emulsifies the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth - giving you the chance to savour every nuance of flavour with just a small sip of oil.

  1. When the oil is in our mouth, we further evaluate the aroma retro-nasally as well as determine amount of bitterness on our tongues.

  2. Finish by swallowing the oil and noticing if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.

  3. Lastly, we determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency in our throats as we swallow it and

    the length that the flavour lasts.

  4. In between samples, clean your palate by eating a small piece of apple, plain water cracker or

    natural yoghurt and then rinsing your mouth with water

    Oil Aroma and flavours

  • Apple/Green Apple: indicative of certain olive varietals

  • Fresh nuts – Almond, hazelnut, walnut: nutty (fresh not oxidized)

  • Artichoke: green flavour

  • Banana: ripe and unripe banana fruit, banana skin

  • Floral: perfume/aroma of flowers

  • Forest: fresh aroma reminiscent of forest floor, NOT dirty

  • Fresh: good aroma, fruity, not oxidised

  • Fruity: refers to the aroma of fresh olive fruit, which is perceived through the nostrils and

    retro-nasally when the oil is in one’s mouth.

  • Grass: the aroma of fresh-cut (mowed) grass

  • Green/Greenly: aroma/flavour of unripe olives

  • Green Tea: characteristic of some unripe olive varieties

  • Hay/Straw: dried grass flavour

  • Herbaceous: unripe olive fruit reminiscent of fresh green herbs

  • Stone fruit: indicative of certain olive varietals

  • Spice: aroma/flavour of seasonings, cinnamon, allspice (but not herbs or pepper)

  • Tomato/Tomato Leaf: indicative of certain olive varietals

  • Tropical: indicative of ripe olive fruit with nuances of passionfruit, kiwi fruit, guava, mango

  • Woody: indicative of olive varietals, astringency, early harvest

2

Oil texture and mouthfeel

  • Astringent: puckering sensation in mouth created by tannins; often associated with bitter, robust oils

  • Balanced: balance with oil’s characteristics with none overpowering the others

  • Bitter: considered a positive attribute because it is indicative of fresh olive fruit

  • Buttery: creamy, smooth sensation on palate

  • Peppery: stinging sensation in the throat which can force a cough (see pungent)

  • Pungent: stinging sensation in the throat which can force a cough (see peppery)

  • Round/Rotund: a balanced, mouth-filling sensation of harmonious flavours

  • Sweet: characteristic of mild oils - not sugar sweet but free of bitterness and pepper

Storing extra virgin olive oil

  • Both light and heat are the enemies of olive oil as they contribute to rancidity. Olive oils will rapidly become rancid if stored in a warm, well lit environment.

  • Olive oils should be stored in a cool dark place.

  • You should always purchase oils stored in dark opaque green or brown glass,

    cask or tin.

  • Most also refrigerate well however the natural waxes will solidify. Just take out

    of fridge to make liquid again.

  • Do not store in a warm area or next to the oven.

    Flavoured olive oils

    These include citrus flavoured, chilli, garlic and herb flavoured oils. These can be made in several ways:

  1. Agrumato process: Citrus skins are added to the olives and crushed together before extracting the oil,

  2. Adding essential oils: Food grade oils that have been distilled from fresh ingredients (citrus, herb) are added to the olive oil

  3. Infusion process: Dried herbs, garlic, chilli is added to oil and allowed to infuse. Stay away from any oil with fresh flavouring items as the consumption of these oils could cause botulism (which can be fatal).

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