Olives should be harvested at the right degree of maturation, when the majority of olives are changing color and start look ripe. The optimal technique is to harvest the olives by hand or using a scraper carefully not to damage the fruit. Mechanical harvest can be almost as good if done properly with the right equipment. Olives should be stored in shallow bins to avoid the smashing of the bottom layers and for a maximum of 48 hours to prevent any deterioration.
- Crushing: the milling should ideally take place on the same day of harvesting to prevent oxidization. First the olives are washed with cold water then crushed, which liberates the oil and turns the mixture into a paste. The paste is mixed between half to one hour to extract the oil.
- Separation (3 phases): The oil must now be separated from the solids and water, using a horizontal
After that, the oil still contains water, which needs to be separated using a vertical centrifugal machine.
Analysis & Testing
The oil is then analyzed to ensure the quality has not been altered in any way. The composition of the oil is determined though various testing procedures.
Olive oil should be stored in clean stainless steel containers to preserve the quality of the oil.