People are increasingly using olive oil for the numerous benefits it offers. However, the quality of olive oil depends on how mature the olives were when the producer collected and harvested them. Therefore, most producers prefer rolling out early harvest olive oil in the market for their customers.
Below, we have talked about early harvest olive oil!
What is early harvest olive oil?
While olives are in the veraison period, producers harvest them and extract oil from them before their color changes to purple since the latter signifies more ripening of the fruit. Usually, these veraison olives produce a wide range of premium quality extra virgin olive oil. This extracted oil is known as the first harvest or early harvest olive oil.
Generally, early harvesting takes place at the beginning of October and lasts until mid-November. You must study the weather conditions and the geographical area to figure out the right maturation period of olives and take these aspects into account.
Factors affecting the quality of this olive oil
A regular consumer of olives would know that olives are collected and harvested at different moments based on their maturity. Therefore, olives are available in several colors, ranging from intense green to black. Olives collected at the beginning of the harvest season are likely to produce better quality oil.
Additionally, the weather and terrain differences can also give birth to a wide variety of extra virgin olive oils. You should collect and harvest olives only during a specific period (as mentioned above) to get premium quality oil. However, one sure thing is the more mature the olive is, the more juice you will get. Therefore, many farmers collect the fruit once it has matured more, thinking that they will earn more profit by producing a larger quantity of oil. But, you should know that greener olives tend to have more intense and complex smell and flavor.
Characteristics of early harvest olive oil
The first harvest oils are known for their greenish to golden color and aromatic flavors. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, oleic acid, and anti-inflammatory compounds, like polyphenols.
They are harvested in small quantities to prevent them from deteriorating when piled up and gaining temperature. After taking the olives to the mills, producers press, filter, and bottle them while ensuring the preservation of maximum organoleptic qualities.
How to distinguish them in the market?
You will be surprised to know no authority regulates and controls the "early harvest" olive oil market. This concept is a quality mark that producers developed and assume to give grounds for comparison against lower quality olive oils. Therefore, you should look for a premium seal that indicates high quality and good harvesting and production processes, requiring more time, effort, and specialization.