How is Extra Virgin Olive Oil made?
The elaboration of olive oil is carried out in mills. It is a slow process, in which we pay attention even to the smallest detail, in order to avoid altering the quality of olives. To learn a little more about Spanish culture and traditions, we show you how olive oil is made at Aceites Vallejo.
Production of extra virgin olive oil
The entire process of making extra virgin olive oil is carried out with quality olives from which virgin oils can result. The other types of oils are manufactured by chemical processes.
Virgin olive oils are extracted mechanically in a totally natural way as if it were a fruit juice and with special care for the olives.
The general procedure, and the one followed at Vallejo Oils, to make virgin olive oil is as follows:
It is the first step, it is essential and it consists of collecting the raw material, olives, the fruit of the olive tree. It can be done mechanically or by hand, depending on the type of land in which the olive grove is located.
Depending on the type of olive oil we want to obtain (early or traditional harvest), we will collect the olives at a certain time.
Reception and cleaning
When we have finished the harvest day, we move to the oil mill. Once there, the olives are cleaned, separating them from the olives on the ground, from the branches and fallen leaves. It is necessary to clean them before crushing them in order to avoid fermentation and thus worsen the quality of the resulting oil.
Next, they are classified into groups according to their quality, variety, degree of maturation or health status.
This step is essential, as it is when the virgin olive oil begins to be produced. It is done through two steps: grinding and beating.
Grinding is a very important step and must be done the same day the olive is harvested and received at the mill or, at least, within the following 24 hours. In this way, we avoid the oxidation and fermentation of the olives.
In a hammer mill, the 'cells' of the olives are broken and the oil begins to be released, obtaining a homogeneous greenish paste. Thus, the liquid part of the olive has been released without the need to pit it.
In this step, the mass obtained is beaten so that it is homogeneous and it is easier to separate the oil from the rest of the olive (pulp, bone, skin and vegetation water).
The beating lasts at least an hour and is done at a temperature between 24 and 27 degrees. It is done gently, since the dough is in contact with air, which can oxidize the paste and, therefore, increase the acidity of the resulting oil. This process is also known as “cold extraction”.
Decantation consists of separating the olive oil from the water and the solids, thanks to the difference in densities. In this way, the olive oil separates and rises to the top. It is also done with the help of conical-shaped decantation containers where the water and impurities are extracted from the bottom to clean the oil.
From the decanting process, we obtain the oil, vegetable water and pomace.
This last step is optional. However, in Vallejo Oils the oils are filtered and thus we eliminate the remains of moisture and impurities that may remain in the olive oil
Chemical analysis and tasting panel
The resulting oils are examined in a chemical analysis, in which a series of parameters are determined, such as the level of peroxides, acidity... and thus establish their category (extra virgin, virgin...). At Vallejo Oils we have our own laboratory to ensure quality and food safety.
These oils, after passing the chemical analysis, are presented to a tasting panel made up of experts who classify the type of oil and guarantee the optimal organoleptic conditions and who, finally, will give the olive oil its “surname”.
At Vallejo Oils, we store all our olive oil in stainless steel drums, well protected from light and at the right temperature so that it does not lose its characteristics. In this way, we get the oils to keep their initial properties intact.
All this procedure is carried out in an industrial mill, with specialized machinery that manages to extract the juice more quickly and in an automated way.
Aceites Vallejo facilities
At Aceites Vallejo, we have facilities in Torredonjimeno (Jaén) and Martos (Jaén) to carry out the entire olive oil production process.
At the oil mil in Torredonjimeno, we have three olive reception centers, three milling lines, seven olive cleaning and washing lines and 97 bulk oil storage tanks, with a capacity of over 4,000,000 kilos.
At the facilities in Martos, we have seven bottling lines with a capacity of 15 million liters per year, our own laboratory and tasting room, and a heated stainless steel cellar with a capacity of 1,300,000 kilos.