Turning olives into olive oil is a craft that has been practiced for centuries, and various techniques have been passed down from generation to generation. Many historians believe that the making of olive oil originated in the ancient Mediterranean basin, most likely in Greece.
The olive oil producers of today use a variety of methods depending on the region, with each having its unique way of turning olives into healthy and flavorful olive oil. But how exactly is olive oil made?
In this blog, our olive oil experts, producers, and manufacturers at Texana Brands will cover:
- What olive oil is, and how its made
- The olive oil production process
- Where olive trees are grown
- When olives are harvested
- Olive oil extraction
- Olive oil packaging
Table of Contents:
- What is Olive Oil?
- How is Olive Oil Made?
- The Olive Oil Production Process Explained in 6 Steps
- Where Do Olive Trees Grow?
- When is The Olive Tree Harvesting Season?
- All About Olive Oil Extraction and Packaging
What People Ask:
How is olive oil traditionally made?
Olive oil is made by harvesting fresh olives, crushing the olives into a paste, and separating the olive pulp from the natural oils at extraction.
Does olive oil come from a pit?
No. The olive oil is derived from the fleshy part, or pulp, of the olive fruit. The oil is squeezed from the olive and separated at extraction.
What is the color of olive oil?
Surprisingly, olive oil comes in a variety of colors. These colors can range from golden yellow to dark green. The color of olive oil is not an indication of quality.
What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a liquid dietary fat that is derived from the fleshy part of the ripened olive fruit that grows on the olive tree. Olive oil varies in color and taste, with characteristics depending on the region and ripeness of the olives.
How is Olive Oil Made?
The basics of making olive oil have remained the same for thousands of years. The olives are harvested at the right time. The olive fruits are then crushed into a paste and separated from the liquid and oil components.
The extraction method affects the quality and flavor of the olive oil, so the process has undergone many changes to help ensure the final product is of the highest quality possible.
The Olive Oil Production Process Explained in 6 Steps
The olive oil production process may vary depending on the producer and other factors, and there are typically six steps in turning olives into olive oil.
- Harvesting: During the harvesting season, the olives are picked. Green olives are picked and harvested earlier in the season, and more mature, darker olives are harvested later in the season.
- Processing: The olives are separated from branches and leaves and are washed once harvested. Once cleaned, the olives are crushed by stainless steel machinery or granite millstones.
- Malaxation: Once the olives are and pits are crushed and ground into a thick paste, water is added to the mixture and is churned slowly for the small olive oil droplets to turn into larger drops.
- Pressing: When the water and olive pulp are stirred, the mixture is pressed mechanically in an oil press or spun using a centrifuge. Either of the methods can be used to separate the olive oil from the olive pulp and water.
- Bottling: As soon as the olive oil is extracted, it is quickly transferred and typically stored in stainless steel containers. The liquid is poured into dark bottles designed to keep the oil protected from the effects of oxygen, light, and heat.
Where Do Olive Trees Grow?
Since the origin of olive oil can be traced back to the ancient Mediterranean basin, it’s not surprising that countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain produce a significant amount of the world’s olive oil. However, you may be surprised to learn that some of the most flavorful and highest-quality olive oil comes from olive trees grown in the United States!
In fact, five states where olive trees are grown are Texas, California, Oregon, Florida, and Georgia. At Texana Brands, our 150 acres include an orchard of olive trees planted and harvested in Artesia Wells, Texas.
We do our own bottling, distributing, and marketing at our home-based facility in beautiful Kyle, Texas!
When is The Olive Tree Harvesting Season?
When properly cared for, olive trees can produce olive fruits every year. Typically, the olive harvesting runs from August through December. Green olives are picked earlier in the season, and darker, more ripened olives are picked closer to the end of the harvest season.
Contrary to consumers' thoughts, black and green olives come from the same tree. The color difference is merely an indicator of the ripeness of the olives.
All About Olive Oil Extraction and Packaging
At the point of olive oil extraction, the production process usually follows the same steps as other producers. However, what happens during extraction and packaging makes a significant difference in the overall quality of the final product.
Olive oil extraction: The procedure will package the olive oil in its most natural, unrefined state once the freshly squeezed olive oil is extracted from the fleshy part of the olive fruit. When olive oil is unrefined after extraction, the product can preserve more of its natural flavor and organic nutrients.
Olive Oil Packaging: The unrefined olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), is immediately transferred to storage containers after extraction. These containers are typically made of stainless steel to protect the olive oil from light, heat, and oxygen. The liquid is then poured into dark, opaque glass bottles for additional protection.
At Texana Brands, we believe in following a constant production process. By doing so, we’ve been able to grow, produce, and distribute the freshest and highest quality Texas extra virgin olive oil.
Do you like your olive oil to have a little spice or kick? If so, check out our cajun heat, spicy sriracha, hatch chile, and fresh jalapeno infused olive oils! Each Texana Brand signature product is made with 100% EVOO.
If you prefer a savory, buttery smoothness, our roasted garlic, roasted onion, country herb, and smokey mesquite infused olive oil would be a perfect addition to your pantry!