About Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is produced by physical or mechanical means without the use of heat or chemicals or micro filtration. EVOO is the only oil which is edible without further refining processes which is why it is so full of polyphenols, anti-oxidants and vitamins and which is why it is so tasty and good for you. EVOO is 70-80% monounsaturated, the balance being polyunsaturated.
The rules for achieving very fine extra virgin olive oil are simple.
- Pick the fruit when it is ripe or a little sooner if you prefer a peppery after taste.
- Get the olives to the Press House and pressed within 24 to 48 hours. Ideally the fruit you picked today should be pressed over night or the next morning. Olives deteriorate (read, begin to rot) if they are left sitting around in bins. The fatty acids build up and peroxide creeps in causing mustiness and other flavour flaws.
- Fruit should be clean and leaf free when delivered to the Press House.
- The bulk oil should be stored in food quality containers, stainless steel is best, and left to settle. Nitrogen gas will help prevent any contamination or oxidation from undue exposure to air. Any sedimentation will settle in the bottom of the container leaving the oil pure and clear. After a few weeks of settling the oil is ready to be decanted, bottled and used.
Types of Presses
Traditional hydraulic Presses (like an old book press) are still used in many olive producing countries. The olives are washed, de-leafed, squished in a hammer mill then malaxed (mixed) for a period until the oil begins to separate out from the solids. The paste from the malaxer is spread using wooden paddles onto circular
nylon mats (a bit like spreading jam on toast). The mats are stacked up in the press, maybe 50 or more high then pressed down hydraulically causing the olive oil to dribble out from the edges where it is captured by a drain around the bottom of the press and directed into a container and then into a drum to settle. It is a bit slow
and labour intensive and typically only extracts something like 50 or 60% or the oil. This is referred to as “the first cold press”. Further oil can be extracted using heat, chemicals or other refining processes but it won’t be extra virgin and may not even be an edible oil.
Modern Presses use centrifuges to extract the oil. The front end processes from washing thru to malaxing is much the same but the olive paste is pumped into a centrifuge which extracts better than 90% of the available oil and thus there is no second pressing required. There is also less chance of contamination or oxidation from prolonged exposure to the air.
NZ EVOO might just be the best olive oil in the world! We have young (in geological terms) mineral rich soils and a good temperate climate. We use efficient horticultural practices and we mostly use the most modern available technologies to press the oil.
The IOOC and ONZ
The measurable criteria for Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is set by the International Olive Oil Council in Madrid, (IOOC). Olives NZ (ONZ) standard exceeds the international standard and we pride ourselves on exceeding both.
Standard IOOC ONZ Devon Olives
Fatty Acid Content < 0.8% < 0.5% < 0.2%
Peroxide Level < 20 < 15 < 10
EVOO must also have no taste defects and this is usually determined by a panel of qualified judges.
We are so confidant and proud of our product that we print the fatty acid content on our label and describe it as 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.