You might have olive trees growing on your property which you may want to extract oil from. However, you may not know when to harvest and pick olives and how to do it. Well, harvesting olives at your residential property is pretty much similar to commercial olive harvesting.
You can harvest the olives by handpicking them or by using advanced machinery. We at Pura Olea, follow the handpicking method. But, remember to harvest the olives only during specific periods; otherwise, you may not get the desired results.
Below, we have talked about how olives are harvested and why we handpick ours!
You should start harvesting olive trees in August and continue to do so until November. However, this time frame depends on region, variety, and desired ripeness. The degree of ripeness is based on whether you want to use olives for eating or processing oil.
The olives start green, then become rosy, and finally black. Based on the type of oil you are making, you may have to use a combination of all three types of olives for pressing.
Traditionally, people handpick their olives. However, many commercial growers use modern machinery to harvest the olives. They may use a long-handled vibrating tong to shake the olives from the branches or tractors drawing shakers behind them.
How to handpick olives?
First, determine the flavor you want and accordingly harvest the olives. As the olives mature, the bitter flavor fades away. You should use the olives within three days of harvest; otherwise, they will oxidize and become sour.
Bigger olives have more oil content that drops as the olives ripen. Green olives might be bitter but have a longer shelf life and need several months to mellow in flavor. If you are picking olives for oil, go for the ones with a light yellow color.
Then, place tarps under the trees and gently dislodge the olives using a rake. You can also use a ladder to handpick the olives. It may consume your time but will avoid bruising of the fruit.
If you wish to brine olives, choose the green ones when they are mature but before they change color. Remember, all olives on the tree will not be in the same maturity phase.
You need around 80-100 pounds of olives to produce 1 gallon of olive oil. It would require olives of more than one tree and also a lot of labor.
Why do we handpick our olives?
When producers use modern machinery to harvest olives, they basically let olives drop on the ground from a height of 20ft, affecting the quality of olives. Therefore, we at Pura Olea handpick our olives.
Handpicking olives helps you avoid contact between the olives and the ground and ensure that they are never dropped, bruised, or crushed. It helps us extract polyphenol-rich olive oil loaded with nutrients at exceptionally low acidity from premium olives free of blemish.
It also helps to protect the local wildlife. Many olive harvesters across the globe get olives from trees using advanced machinery at night. Sleeping birds who rest on the trees often get dazzled by the bright lights and get sucked to their deaths.