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Common Questions About Olive Oil  

Why are some olive oils green and others yellowish? What does color indicate?

The different colors of the oils depend on the variety, climate, irradiation of the tree, and principally on the date that they are harvested. The color indicates how ripe the olive is, but only the experts can decipher this to decide when to begin the harvest. Why is some olive oil peppery and other mild, and what does it mean? The peppery quality depends on how ripe the fruit is; olives which are not overripe have intense aromas and as a consequence are spicy. On the contrary, olives that are riper produce less intense aromas, and result in more delicate oils. There are varieties which are grown in certain areas which supply oils with relatively delicate characteristics. However, the standard of the aromas is very important. The importance for the aroma for our health is practically unknown by the consumer and worst of all by chefs. Aroma means freshness, health of the olive fruit, consistency, and resistance to aging, which translates into superlative performance in cooking and frying.

What kinds of olives make good olive oils?

There are many varieties which give excellent results in terms of organoleptic quality, others produce a better quantity of oil every year. The planting of an olive grove is studied on the basis of two factors which are never compatible: either you produce quality and deal with the cynical nature of the trees, or you decide that it is better to have a good harvest in terms of quantity each year. (The latter option is the one the vast majority of producers choose when they decide to plant a new grove). The principal varieties for the making of excellent oil are Frantoio, which is the absolute best, Moraiolo, Leccino, Canino, Teggiasca, and Ogliarola.

How do you know when to pick an olive when making olive oil?

Experts and the experience of the single olive grower decide when it is time to start the harvest. Ideally, this should depend largely on weather conditions during the growing season and at harvest. Tradition and the eating habits of each area of production heavily influence this decision. Unfortunately, the traditions are still very backward and outdated. In many olive growing regions farmers harvest based on tradition -- instead of harvesting at the correct time to achieve the best, flavor , balance, density, aroma and color. If for example, you think of wine, cheeses and many other food products the olive oil is largely very backwards. However, the best producers combine experience, instinct and improve on traditional methods only when appropriate to naturally achieve the highest quality.

ChefTalk.com › Articles › Common Questions About Olive Oil