How much olive oil per tree

Taking the mystery out of olive oil

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Like wine, no two olive oils are exactly alike. Each oil is distinct, a unique product of soil, climate, olive type (there are at least 60 varieties of olives) and processing method. And like wine, olive oil is a changing, “living food."

The olive tree, the domesticated Olea Europaea, is a hearty evergreen with silver-green leaves that thrives in the mild winters and long hot summers of the Mediterranean and does well in dry, arid climates. In many cases olive trees, which start bearing usable fruit after five to eight years, can be hundreds of years old and still produce fruit.

There are about 800 million olive trees in the world, growing in places as disparate as Australia and California, but 98 percent of the world’s olive oil comes from the 20 or so countries that make up the International Olive Oil Council. The IOOC operates under a United Nations treaty and sets standards of quality for member countries. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world, followed closely by Italy. Greece is the third-largest producer, though it uses more olive oil per capita than any other country.

Worldwide, about 10 million metric tons of olives are produced each year. A million metric tons are used for table olives and nine million (93 percent of the total crop) are pressed for olive oil. A mature olive tree will produce only 15 to 20 kilograms (33 to 44 pounds) of olives each year. Since it takes about five kilograms of olives to make a liter of oil, one tree is capable of producing only about three to four liters of oil per year—a small output by any measure.

The olive is a drupe, a fruit like the peach and the plum, with a single hard stone. An olive branch will bear 10 to 40 clusters of the fruit. As the olive ripens, the flesh fills out, and six to eight months after the tree’s blossoms first appear, the olives are fully ripe, yielding their maximum oil content.

Once the fruit is ripe, pickers traditionally stand on ladders propped on the branches and pick each olive by hand, dropping them into net bags. Hand picking assures that each olive is not damaged, and that only the fully ripe olives are picked. While olives are also harvested by machines, these mechanical harvesters make no distinction between the unripe and ripe olives.

The olives are immediately taken to an olive oil mill where they are pressed for their oil the same day, or at most a day later, before they start to oxidize and ferment. It is one of the great ironies of nature that the actual fruit of the tree—the just-picked olives—are far too bitter and acrid to eat. The fruit must be washed and soaked and then either brined or salted and allowed to age before it is edible. Virgin olive oil, however, is extracted without heat, additives or solvents from the freshly picked bitter olives, and should have a lush, rich taste and velvety texture; it is ready to use immediately after extraction.

Olive oil that is “cold-pressed” is made from olives that have been crushed with a traditional millstone or stainless steel grindstone. No heat or chemicals are added during the process, which produces a heavy olive paste. The paste is then spread over thick, round straw or plastic mats that are placed in a press. This press extracts the liquid from the paste—a combination of oil and water. The oil is separated from the water either by decanting or by centrifuge and then filtered to remove any large particles.

The resulting oil is then graded and classified, according to standards established by the IOOC. The finest oil has the lowest acidity, which is measured as a percentage per 100 grams of oil.

The Grades

Extra Virgin: If the olive oil has certain taste characteristics and 1 percent or less total acidity, it can be classified as extra virgin, considered to have perfect taste and aroma. Because of its purity, distinct taste, and limited production, extra virgin olive oil is the most expensive.

Virgin: The next grade down, virgin olive oil is produced without heat or additives, just like extra virgin. Virgin olive oil has excellent taste and aroma, but may have a higher acidity than extra virgin, anywhere up to 2 percent. “Ordinary virgin olive oil,” rarely available in this country, may have up to 3.3 percent acidity.

Olive Oil: The most widely marketed grade of olive oil is simply called “olive oil,” the new term for what was previously called “pure olive oil,” or “100 percent pure olive oil.” Often less than a quarter of the price of extra virgin, olive oil has an acidity level of less than 1.5 percent and is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. The amount of virgin in a blended oil varies from 5 to 25 percent, depending on the flavor desired by the producer. The new “lite” olive oils—lighter in flavor and texture, but identical in calories and fat composition to virgin—are part of this blended category.

Olive-Pomace Oil: This oil is extracted from pomace, the pulpy olive residue from which the virgin olive oil has been extracted. Extraction is done with the aid of solvents (in the same manner in which seed oils are produced), then the oil is blended with virgin olive oil. Pomace is usually the least expensive olive-derived oil product but may not be sold as olive oil. Production is limited and continues to decline because of advances in olive pressing technology.

Storing olive oil
As long as it is properly cared for, olive oil has a long shelf life. Because of its antioxidants, it will remain fresh longer than other oils and in a restaurant setting will be consumed before there is a loss of flavor. Under proper conditions, olive oil may last up to 12 months (18 months if stored in metal containers). Light, heat and air are destructive to olive oil, so the best way to buy it is in tins or dark glass bottles. The best place to store well-sealed containers is in a cool, dark place.

Oive oil can also be refrigerated, though it will become hazy. A good compromise for a hot kitchen is to store large amounts in the refrigerator, and pour out small amounts that will be used up quickly.

Occasionally, extra virgin oil will have particles floating in it. Not to worry. This is unfiltered olive oil, considered prime oil in the producing countries. The tiny bits of pressed olives that have been left in the oil add flavor and color.

How to choose an oil
Personal taste, cost effectiveness and availability are important issues when choosing olive oils. But what appeals to you may not necessarily be the choice of a colleague. Nature, fortunately, has provided a wide range of styles and flavors.

It would be easy if different grades of olive oil could be categorized by taste, but that’s not the case. Some extra virgin oils will be very rich but mild, others will be fruity and delicate, and there are those whose peppery smell and taste almost bites back. The extra virgin olive oils of small producers may vary in taste from year to year, much like the output of small wineries. The olive oil from large producers, particularly those who do a lot of exporting, tends to be consistent.

Culinary professionals who are familiar with olive oil contend that they can tell an oil’s country of origin, even in a blind tasting. What is probably true in most cases, however, is that they recognize a style that is associated with a country.

Olive oil does not have to come from a particular country in order for it to be bottled and labeled there; however, the quality of the oil and its labeled grade must meet IOOC specs. The actual oil can come from different regions of the same country, or from one or several other countries, although a producer will usually try to replicate his or her “national taste.”

In order to re-create the authentic taste of a dish some chefs will purposely match up particular olive oils to specific dishes—Spanish oil for a paella, Greek oil for making mezze, a French oil from Provence for a tapenade. Often, restaurants will keep several olive oils on hand—an extra virgin for some cold dishes and dining room service; a virgin for sautéing, braising, roasting and grilling; a pomace for frying.

Terms to know

Anti-oxidant: A substance that increases the useful life of a fat or oil because it reduces the rate at which the fat becomes rancid. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are examples of manufactured anti-oxidants allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in foods.

Flash point: The temperature at which an oil will flame but not continue to burn (650ºF for olive oil).

Foaming: The development and persistence of froth on the surface of fats or oils during frying. Foaming can indicate fat breakdown, but may also result from the presence of foreign material.

Hydrogenated: The addition of hydrogen to the molecule of an unsaturated oil or fat to make it solid.
polyunsaturated: A fatty acid with two free carbon links. Oils from plant foods and fish contain the most abundant amounts of polyunsaturated fats, with coconut oil as an exception.

Pro-oxident: A substance that speeds up the reaction of fats with oxygen. Copper and iron are pro-oxidants.
saturated: A fatty acid with no free carbon links. Unsaturated fats have a greater potential to develop rancidity. When hydrogen is added to an unsaturated oil, the fatty acid becomes saturated and changes from a liquid to a solid.

Smoke point: The temperature at which oil gives the first trace of smoke when heated at a specified rate. A high smoke point is desirable for a fat used for frying and indicates good refining, but the length of total frying time before a fat starts to smoke is a better test of stability. Good frying oil will have a smoke point of 420ºF to 450ºF (the smoke point for olive oil is 437ºF).

Careful with flavored oils

Olive oil suffused with garlic, herbs or hot peppers have become popular recently not only because of their flavors, but because many of them are appealing to the eye. They can, however, become a breeding ground for botulism, so it is important to exercise caution when making any kind of flavored oil.

Avoid using low-acid, fresh ingredients, like raw garlic or fresh herbs, to infuse oil meant to last awhile. When these ingredients are combined with olive oil, an anaerobic environment (without oxygen) can result and create harmful bacteria.

If you want to use fresh ingredients for your infused olive oil, make it in small quantities. The oil may be refrigerated for up to two days before being discarded.

Infused oils made with dried ingredients are much safer and just as potent as those made with fresh products.

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How much oil does an olive tree produce?

In our case and with the data we have from the last 10 years, the amount of oil produced by an olive tree is around 5 to 10 liters.

So when you pass through a landscape of olive groves you quickly get an idea of how each olive tree produces on average one and a half of the typical 5-liter bottles that you see in the stores.


What does the amount of oil produced by an olive tree depend on?

An olive tree produces more or less oil based on the following parameters:

  • age and size of the tree crown
  • whether the olive tree is rain-fed or irrigated
  • the weather conditions during the year
  • the cyclical yield
  • agronomic care: fertilizers, treatments and pruning

Let's detail them a little.


Age and size of the crown of an olive tree (for example in traditional or intensive olive groves)

When an olive tree is planted, it does not begin to produce fruit immediately. Olive seedlings usually have a height of one meter when bought in the garden center, just enough so that they can be attached to a stake and a protector can be attached to prevent rabbits from gnawing the trunk.

Obviously, this plant does not produce olives. You have to wait until the tree is 4 or 5 years old for it to produce olives. The farmer harvests the olives, even if in these years it is uneconomical, since leaving them on the tree would slow down its growth.

In these years, the farmer aims for the trunk to reach a free height without branches of at least 1 meter, so that in the future it can be accessed with a vibrating clamp for harvesting and to create three main branches from which to develop the crown of the olive tree.

An olive tree in a traditional or intensive frame can reach its maximum level of production between 15 and 20 years, depending on the availability of water, the absence of diseases and severe frost, and the correct and sufficient administration of fertilizer.

Regarding the size of the crown, it is limitated by the available space, which depends on the planting pattern.

In traditional olive groves, with a density of less than 200 trees per hectare, the olive trees are more widely spaced, and are usually larger trees, and therefore the amount of oil that each olive tree can generate increases with respect to whether it is an intensive or super-intensive olive grove.

In these traditional olive groves, the limiting factor was not, or isn't, space, but rather the availability of water, especially in dry land.

In intensive olive groves, with densities between 300 and 400 trees per hectare, the development of the crowns is limited by the neighboring olive trees, so the amount of oil generated per tree is less than that of a traditional olive tree.

Another issue is the production of oil per hectare. In all cases, intensive olive groves usually produce more oil than traditional ones.


Irrigated or rain-fed olive trees

Although the olive grove has traditionally been a rain-fed crop, and the olive grove produces fruit in conditions without excessive drought, the irrigation of an olive grove produces an increase in the amount of oil that an olive tree generates.

In order to maximize the effect of irrigation on the harvest in the traditional way, it has been considered to let irrigation replace the lack of spring and autumn rain in dry years and extend the rainy season in those years when the rain otherwise falls sufficiently. That is, extend the spring to May and June.

Extending the rainy season in the fall would not have much effect because it is harvest season and could be counterproductive. This is because in October the veraison of the olive begins, the transition from green to purple color. When this process begins, the generation of oil inside the olive (lipogenesis) stops, so any supply of water to the olive tree results in an increase in water in the fruit. This aspect can make it difficult to extract the oil in the oil mill.


Weather conditions

In this case the conditions are varied. Apart from the contribution of water, either by irrigation or rain, the main conditions are the following:

  • The absence of severe frost in winter and especially late spring frost. The latter is the most harmful to production because the new stems, responsible for future harvests, have already been developed and a late frost easily damages them.
  • The temperature during flowering. The olive tree is in bloom in mid-May. Too high temperatures cause the flowers to wither, thus significantly reducing the number of future olives.


Cyclical yield

The cyclical yield is a very typical phenomenon in the cultivation of the olive grove. The Spanish term "vecería" refers to the break that an olive tree naturally takes after a large fruit production. That is, a large olive harvest one year is usually followed by a low production the next because the olive tree is exhausted.

As such, "vecería" can be translated into cyclical yield, where the harvest is good one year, and not the next.

We have always thought that the alternate bearing was due to traditional forms of agriculture, in which the harvest was delayed to achieve the highest fat yield, and that this delay meant that the olive tree could not recover in time. This coupled with a deficit of nutrients for the formation of the fruit, especially phosphorus.

However, we began to think that the cyclical yield, although attenuated with modern agricultural management, is inherent to the crop.


Agronomic care

In this section, we look at proper use of fertilizers and treatments.

However, it deserves a special remark about controversial and strange pruning.

Olive pruning is always an interesting topic to discuss among farmers because it is so subjective.

There are many types of pruning, crown pruning, maintenance pruning, rejuvenation pruning and basically any adjective you can think of.

Pruning is essential to optimize all the resources contributed to the olive grove in the production of olives.

The overall objective of pruning is the creation of an orderly, ventilated tree crown that receives sufficient sunlight for the correct development of the largest number of fruits.

The strategies and ways to achieve this goal are found in any teacher booklet, although criteria and visions are gradually reconciled.

Olive oil: rwolfenator — LiveJournal

Archaeologists claim that the cultivation of olive trees began in the Mediterranean six thousand years ago. Thousands of years ago, local residents learned how to extract divine nectar from olive fruits - olive oil.
Butter was the main export item - south to Egypt, north to Greece, and then to Rome. The form of transportation is by sea. Carriers - sailors of the ancient world - Phoenicians ("fenehu" - "ship builder") - Phoenicia - the northern neighbor and ally of the ancient Israelites.
Containers - amphoras - traditional vessels for storing oil - they rolled during swimming and this prevented the formation of sediment in the oil.

At first, olives were grown only in the East: in Judea and Syria, but gradually they spread to the West. Phoenician merchants brought olives to Spain and Greece, and the Greeks then to Italy.
Olive oil was called "liquid gold", it was an essential item, one of the most valuable commodities. Throughout its history, olive oil has acted in various capacities, from money to medicine, and is inseparable from the culture of the Mediterranean.

In Israel, the most popular (and ancient) variety is Suri. The tree produces up to 80 kg of fruits per year (about 20 liters of oil)

Traditionally, in these places, oil is made by cold pressing. Any heat is detrimental to olive oil. Oil from dark, small and shriveled olives _MALISI is valued above all - this is the name of this variety. Green small olives - SURI - are very close to the first and these two types are often mixed. There are also large olives - they are watery, the oil from them is useless - they were brought from somewhere, I don’t know.

These fruits are a variety of SURI olives - it is called MALISI - the olive is small, dark and dryish, but gives a soft green oil with a characteristic pungent aftertaste.
It is very important, having removed the fruit, to quickly deliver it to the oil mill - in no case should it get enough moisture or lie at least overnight on the ground. The oil mills are not closed as long as there are fresh olives - everything is distilled into oil on the same day. Trying to sell oil made from spoiled olives forever destroys reputation.

Olive growing is a traditional Arab business. The Jews are somehow not kept in it...
A sea of ​​olive trees is a sign of a large Arab village nearby. Trees are passed down from generation to generation. Not far from us there are olive trees planted during the time of the Crusaders by the Crusaders themselves. Their descendants - Israeli Christian Arabs, pass on from generation to generation parables about trees and the ancestors of those who planted them.
The tree bears fruit already in the second year, but it is customary to harvest only after four years. It practically does not get sick, does not require watering, no maintenance is required at all, except, perhaps, pruning in order to form a trunk.

Green all year round, blooming with very beautiful, albeit modest, flowers. Fruiting - once a year. About 80 kg of olives (20 liters of oil) are harvested from an average tree - $ 200. If in the days of the Turks, by the way, a family with 17 trees per capita was considered rich, then it is not difficult to calculate the cost of life at that time - an annual income of $ 2,000 more than provided a family of 10 people.)))) Although, of course, it is difficult to estimate the cost oils - there were times when it was valued very, very highly.
One tree requires at least 5 square meters. meters of land. On one dunam (a measure of the area in the countries that were under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in the past - equal to 1000 square meters - 10 acres), 200 trees can be planted back to back, but less is planted, since they require areas for travel, indentation from the fence, etc. d.

The cost of a dunam for agriculture is about 20 thousand dollars (the cheapest). That is, it is realistic to receive in five years 40 thousand dollars from each dunam per year. This is an ideal calculation that does not take into account a lot of random factors and does not stipulate a bunch of expenses and taxes. In principle, the "peasants" who manage here are very wealthy, they teach children at universities and have something to pass on to their children. My Arab colleague, the son of such a peasant, the owner of 40 dunams of land since the time of the Turks, says that the real value of a well-groomed and profitable dunam of land (with profitable olives, for example) can be about 300 thousand dollars
Picking olives - an event in the family - everyone leaves - from young to old. They spread awnings under the tree and take off the olive with their fingers. The previously used method of knocking down olives with a stick is now considered barbaric.

Traditionally, at the beginning of November, I go to the oil mill, where I buy oil with the help of a colleague. I see the whole oil production process there.

I was impressed by the atmosphere of upbeat and almost festive mood.
The old men are sitting over a glass of coffee, the uncles are clamoring and from time to time they pour sacks of fresh olives into the fruit-washing machine, children of different ages are rushing about like hell among all this farce... The smell of oil, coffee, slippery greasy floor. Always hot pitas and saucers of butter for tasting. Not a single woman or girl - only men.

The machine grinds olives with pits into a porridge like this

And then all this porridge is centrifuged for 10 minutes
The heavier oil settles and is removed through a tube for filtration. The remaining olive pomace is pressed into briquettes (it is, in fact, the seeds and peel + coarse fibers of the pulp) and used for heating in winter., as the pomace burns beautifully and brings the ancient smell of Mediterranean dwellings into the house)

And here is the finished oil

Poured into 16 liter canisters (tradition!)

On the left in the picture is the oil made that evening from the olives picked that morning. On the right is a very good and rather expensive store.
MALISI olive oil does not transmit light and has a unique set of unsaturated fatty acids

Olive oil is an integral part of the diet of Mediterranean people. It is used in our house only in cold form - heating destroys it. This is an ideal seasoning for salads, which are served twice a day in a large bowl (small basin). We add it to dairy products - it gives sophistication and charm to sour LABANE (high-fat sour cream - a cross between sour cream from jars of 10 kopecks and cottage cheese, rolled into balls with a small apple. Well, just chop with bread and salt for the night looking - for a sweet soul! Olives are sold in the form of salted, spicy, pickled and many other types, in any store and are a very common snack on any table. Here, olives burst at any opportunity, like seeds. Olive pits are found in the most ancient archaeological excavations.. I read about an archaeobiologist from the University of Jerusalem, who managed to sprout bones from excavations of biblical times and is preparing to present olive trees grown from bones that have lain in the ground for several thousand years. 0005

The average statistical adult in this country consumes 10-12 liters of this oil per year. We haven't made it yet, we only have 8 liters per person. By the way, the cost of one liter is about 10 dollars.

This tree is from the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. He is over 2000 years old. It stood there during the time of the procurator Pontius Pilate. According to Christian tradition, Jesus was arrested by the temple guards near these trees, despite the attempts of the apostles to protect him.

Pliny said that "The olive never dies"
Some olive trees in Galilee are as old as those in the Garden of Gethsemane.


90,000 olive: How olive oil olive is obtained: how olive oil

Kantata tape

Oil & Vinegar


olive: How olive oil

History of good olive oil begins with olive wood. Oliva loves the Mediterranean climate and lives for hundreds of years. The tree gives the richest harvest at the age of 7 to 35 years. The weather, the number of hours of sunshine and the quality of the soil influence the growth of the tree and ultimately the taste of the olive oil. There are over 85 varieties of olives.

The olive tree blooms in spring from April to June with white flowers. In June, the flowers turn into olives, which take on more and more pulp by autumn.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

The earlier the olives are harvested, the better the olive oil will be. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are also known as "healthy" fats. They help lower cholesterol and increase the level of vitamin E in the body.

Olive oil is also famous for its high content of natural antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals are aggressive substances that can damage cells and tissues. Antioxidants help counter this damage and therefore may prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease in the long term.

Extra virgin olive oil

Oil&Vinegar exclusively offers extra virgin olive oil. It is an extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed from the pulp of fresh olives. Such oil is pressed only mechanically and is not subjected to any further processing. This olive oil is marked "Extra Virgin" on the label. It has a maximum acidity level of 0.8%, the free fatty acid content expressed as a percentage of the total fatty acid content. The lower the acidity, the higher the quality of the olive oil. However, this fact alone does not say anything about the taste of the product. There is no single standard for taste here, as it certainly depends on personal preference.

As in the case of wine, the Ministry of Agriculture of the country of origin may impose restrictions on virgin olive oil related to its place of origin. This is a guarantee that the oil is produced in a certain region and meets the quality requirements. This guarantee is better known as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). The terms DOP (Italian), AOC (French) and DPO (Spanish) may also be used.

To preserve the aroma and taste, we recommend using our extra virgin olive oil chilled or at room temperature. Filtered oil can be used at temperatures up to 140 degrees Celsius for baking and frying. Oil&Vinegar also offers extra virgin olive oil that can be heated up to 180 degrees. This oil is perfect for baking and stewing.


Harvesting olives earlier will produce less oil. For Oil&Vinegar, the best quality is a priority. Therefore, the farmers who supply us with their products produce only the highest quality olive oil and will not delay the harvest of olives until the last, unlike industrial producers of olive oil.

Depending on the country, the first olives are usually harvested in September. Sometimes olives are picked when they are green, and sometimes when they are black. Most of the fruits are harvested from November to February. The beginning of the season is the time for harvesting green olives. For olive oil, a mixture of unripe, semi-ripe and fully ripe fruits is used.

Most olives are removed from the trees with a special rake. Some olive groves use vibrating machines to shake the olives off the trees. Canvases or nets are laid out on the ground, where the fruits fall. This prevents damage to the olives and makes it easier for farmers to harvest them.

Harvested olives are processed within 72 hours, so they do not have time to oxidize and ferment. A fair number of our producers have organized their processes in such a way that no more than 10 hours pass between harvest and pressing. Of course, this reflects well on the quality of olive oil.

Novello olive oil is pressed every year from the first new olive harvest. Novello is among olives, as Beaujolais is the premier among Beaujolais wines. This extra virgin olive oil is not filtered and is bottled immediately after pressing.

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