Olive oil production processes includes many different elements. These elements includes the land, cultivar, climate, harvesting time, timing optimization, production facilities and so on.
Most of the olive oil production in the world is made in the Mediterranean region where the winters are cold and rainy and the summers are hot and dry. As the history of olive tree goes back thousands of years, it is native to the Mediterranean coast. Aegean region that has the best characteristics of Mediterranean region is the best place to produce the best Turkish olive oil.
One of the best characteristic of olive tree is its ability of adopting to different physical conditions. Under normal circumstances the preferable temperature for olive tree is to be above minus 5°C, however there are examples that it stays alive even down to minus 12°C regions. Of course, one of the main factors that effect the temperature throughout the year is the latitude which the olive oil is best to be cultivated within 30° and 45° latitudes. In order to olive blossom to form properly, the olive tree must be exposed to cold for a while in a year.
On the other hand, not only the temperature but also the amount of rain and time that the tree is exposed to rain matters as such. The ideal rain condition for olive tree is that when the winters are highly rainy and summers are dry which is the definition of Mediterranean climate.
Once the suitable physical conditions are met, the most important stage comes in to question in olive oil which is the process of turning fresh, undamaged, greenish olives in to liquid gold. This step is one of the most important steps of olive oil production processes. The responsibility of keeping the quality of olive oil premium passes from the oil tree grower to the olive mill where the process occurs.
The first and most important factor in olive production is to send the olives to olive mill directly right after the olives are harvested. The logic behind is that the more light and air the olives are exposed to, the more spoilage will occur. In order to be able to dispatch the olives to olive mill quickly within hours, the mill location must be very close to the olive ranch.
Once the olives reached to the mill, the very next step is to take them to the washer in order to clean them by simple water washing. This process includes to remove the stems, leaves, twigs, and other debris from the olives.
After oils are washed and cleaned, now they are ready for the magical process of producing the best Turkish Olive Oils. The grinding stage, that is the phase that crushes olives and turn them into paste. The olives are crushed with the oil seed and the olive pulp together with different methods however with the only purpose, to make the perfect paste.
After the grinding stage, the olive paste shall be taken to the malaxing machine. Malaxing machines mixes the olive paste slowly and intense. This may sound a little bit non-sense because you may already thinking that the paste is already malaxed in the grinder. However, that is not true at all. Malaxing is the most important stage in order to produce the best Turkish Olive Oils.
In malaxing stage both physical and chemical course occurs simultaneously. The ideal malaxing takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour without any stop. The cell walls that were not broken in the grinder in the previous stage gets broken and the minimal oil heaps comes together and create bigger oil drops. However, that is not the only function of the malaxing machine.
Apart from this physical process defined above, in the malaxing stage is the stage where the flavor and taste of olive oil is shaped. Since the best extra virgin olive oil produced by Turkey’s leading olive oil companies have the captivating fresh fruit, green grass and apple like smells, the chemical reaction from which these perfect flavors generated are made in the malaxing stage.
With all these processes occur at the same time in malaxing stage, the temperature becomes unstable hence, need man prevention in order to keep it within the acceptable levels. The generally accepted standard for producing the perfect extra virgin olive oil, the maximum temperature must be kept below 27°C that also means “cold pressed”.
The next step is the separation of liquid gold and the rest that includes the water, pulp and other solids completely. This process is called centrifugation. The method of centrifugation is high rpm turning mechanism that leads the oil and the rest to be separated from each other according to their densities.
After the centrifugation process, here the time comes the best moment that is the first green gold drop coming out from the pipe. Production of best olive oil requires technical know-how, experience and emotional attachment to olive oil and its culture.
The happiest moment of having the first drop is taken as a picture for remembering the moment after years. Below photo shows the perfect liquid gold produced by the Turkey’s leading olive oil company.