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Sunday, 22 July 2018
Olive oil
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Olive oil is obtained from the flesh of ripe stone fruits from the Olea Europæa L., by cold-pressing or by means of some other suitable mechanical process.

The olive tree represents an ancient cultural icon and is a plant that characterises the entire Mediterranean region, which produces approx 98% of world olive output. Olives (oil content approx. 56%) are harvested just before they ripen fully. There are three harvesting methods: 1.) plucked from the tree, 2.) picked off the ground 3.) shaken out of trees and collecting off the ground. Nowadays, this is sometimes performed mechanically.

The main ingredient in the golden- to greenish-yellow clear, fatty, non-drying oil is oleic acid. The oil sets to a soft mass at between 0°C and 10°C and has a characteristic taste. There are three recognised grades:

  • Olive oil, extra virgin (cold-pressed oil with <1% free fatty acids and at least 6.5 points on the Panel scale)
  • Olive oil, virgin (cold-pressed oil with <2% free fatty acids and with at least 5.5 points on the Panel scale; once again, the EU makes a distinction between "virgin fino" and "virgin coriente")
  • Lampante virgin olive oil (cold-pressed oil with <3.5 points on the Panel scale, due to more obvious sensory defects and 3.3% free fatty acids)
  • Pure olive oil, (a mixture made up of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil)
  • Refined olive oil, (fully-refined from Lampante virgin olive oil)

The Panel test is the official process introduced by the European Community for the purpose of organoleptic assessment of olive oil. Under this procedure, both the olfactory and gustatory properties of an oil are profiled, weighted and, subsequently, assessed, using a standardised form.

Olive oil is used an edible oil (and is highly regarded in terms of both sensory and nutritional physiological aspects). It is also used in human Medicine, as a cholagog, by the cosmetics industry (sunscreens) and by the pharmaceuticals sector, as well as by the textile industry, where it is a high-value raw material.

INCI Name: Olea Europaea Fruit Oil
 

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