Olive Facts

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a certification process that oil has passed an extensive chemistry analysis and passed a master taste panel evaluation. All Il Fiorello olive oils are certified extra virgin.
  • Black or Green - Olives change color as they ripen, progressing from green to black. Some are ripe when green, like some apples, while others are completely dark skinned but still not ripe. The color depends on the variety.
  • Olive Varietals - There are about 1,000 olive varieties around the world. We grow 12 varieties at Il Fiorello. A visit will enable you to see and taste the differences.
  • Fruit or vegetable? Olives are a stone fruit. The pit is wood and does not affect the flavor of the oil during milling. So, olive oil is really fruit juice.
  • Olive trees are in a grove not a forest or orchard. Evergreen trees form a grove. Deciduous trees form an orchard.
  • Color of olive oil - Green or golden – color is due to the type of olive and ripeness at harvest. It has little relation to the taste of the oil.
  • Time from harvest to mill should be only a few hours for super premium oil. But if the weather is cold, you can harvest one day and mill the next. In all cases, we would prefer to mill within 24 hours of harvest.
  • Why is olive oil good for you? Olive oil is really fruit juice. It comes from processing the olive, which is a stone fruit. Olive oil has antioxidants, which protect the oil and you from oxidation.
  • How much oil comes from the olive? The oil from olives is only about 15% of the mass by weight, so the rest is considered waste material and is used for compost or animal feed.
  • What is the best way to taste olive oil? First smell the oil for olive fruit then taste the oil for fruitiness, bitterness, and pungency. It should all be in balance. Think of how you would pair each oil with food.
  • Pungency - At back of throat are special receptors on the surface of the cells. The receptor is a protein called TRPA1. It is particularly sensitive to extra virgin olive oil and Ibuprofen. The pepper sensation in your throat is called pungency. It may even cause you to cough. Europeans even rate their oils by one, two, or three coughs.
  • When are olives ripe enough to mill? Olives mature generally from mid-October to perhaps as late as the end of January. The variety of tree and the time of harvest affects the taste profile.
  • The Hardy Olive Tree - Olive trees are very durable and can survive poor conditions and minimal care. Olive trees are evergreen and store much of their energy in their leaves during winter. Trees will produce a few olives each season even when very young. They will hit their pace at about 5 to 10 years of age and produce for many hundreds of years.
  • How many olives does it take to make oil? It takes about 20-25 pounds of olives to make one quart of olive oil but this depends greatly on the variety of olive.
  • Raw Olives are naturally very bitter. Do not try to eat one from the tree. You will only do that once!
  • First pressed? Not anymore! The process of getting oil from olives is called milling not pressing. The modern process utilizes centrifuges to separate the oil from the other olive material. In the old days, olives were pressed on straw mats. Besides no one has a stable of donkeys any more to turn the press!
  • First cold press. This term is also not relevant anymore as we use centrifuges to mill the olives. This statement comes from a time when you pressed multiple times and heated the paste after the first press to get out more oil. Today, it’s used as a marketing quote.
  • Adulteration is a big problem today but, in truth, has been so for millennia. Making good oil is complicated and expensive. Some people add cheap seed oil to extend the volume of their olive oil so they can make more money or undercut the real producers. Ask to see the chemical profile of the oil. The best way to protect yourself is to learn what extra virgin oil tastes like.
  • Storage – Keep your oil in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat, use dark bottles. The perfect temperature is about 61° F.

 

Il Fiorello Blog

Keeping you up to date on all things olive and olive oil.

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Tastings

Taste extra virgin and co-milled flavored olive oils.

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Custom Milling

Bring us your olives to be crushed in our state of the art Italian mill.

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Il Fiorello Blog

Keeping you up to date on all things olive and olive oil.

read more...

Tastings

Taste extra virgin and co-milled flavored olive oils.

read more...

Custom Milling

Bring us your olives to be crushed in our state of the art Italian mill.

read more...