Olive oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree. The pulp of these fruits, known as olives, are practically oil and it is because of this characteristic that since ancient times they have taken advantage of the benefits of this precious liquid… as easy as pressing and ready.
Olive oil production
The fruit of the olive tree, the olive, has a very bitter taste due to the presence of phenolic compounds, so it is not usually eaten raw. Olives are usually macerated, although barely less than 10% of production is used for this type of consumption as the rest is used in the preparation of the famous oil.
Thus, to make olive oil you need ripe fruit. The harvesting season is usually at the end of autumn, when the olives concentrate more quantities of oil. These are subjected to different pressure intervals to extract the liquid and the quality of the resulting oil (which is measured by its organoleptic properties and the amount of free fatty acids present) will depend on the processes subsequent to its extraction.
Olive oil is so Mediterranean that in fact, only 3% of world production takes place outside this area. But the Mediterranean is not only Spain, where in total, half of the world’s olive oil is produced, followed by Italy and Greece.
In order to be marketed, olive oil must be protected from light. For this reason, it is packaged in glass or plastic bottles. Its use, although fundamentally culinary, can also occur in other fields such as cosmetics, medicine and religion, among others.
Types of olive oil
Just as there are different types of olives, different methods of harvesting, transport and processing … there are different types of olive oil. According to European regulations and the body responsible for regulating olive oil, the International Olive Oil Council, these are the types of oil that can be marketed at retail:
The one we like the most! Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality and healthiest. To do this, mechanical procedures are used and only olives in perfect condition are used. Its taste and smell are very characteristic and what makes it so beneficial for our body, is the presence of oleic acid, which reduces cholesterol and prevents heart disease.
This type of oil maintains the same characteristics as extra virgin olive oil. The difference lies in the permitted percentage of acidity, which cannot exceed 2°. This means that the defects of the oil must be practically imperceptible to the consumer.
When we find an oil identified as “Olive Oil” it refers to refined olive oils and virgin olive oils. This type of oil is obtained from a mixture of the refining of the defective oils and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. Since the word “virgin” does not appear, it is clear that chemical or thermal agents have intervened in the production process to clean aromas, flavours and colours. The degree of acidity of this olive oil cannot be higher than 1°.
This type of oil is obtained from the mixture of refined olive pomace oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. The final graduation obtained, in oleic acid, will not be superior to 1°.
As for the ham, what can we say that is not known …. nothing better than a good toasted bread with olive oil and a few slices of Iberian ham. At Enrique Tomás, all our sandwiches are served with Arte Oil, a wonderful extra virgin olive oil with the highest quality of our brand, which you can also buy in any of our stores.