The health benefits of olive oil are numerous and well known, as various studies have shown. They include reducing the likelihood of occurrence of certain types of cancer, balancing cholesterol levels, and preventing heart diseases. In other words, it’s a key ingredient in heart health and hearty meals.
But aside from improving your cholesterol profile and being an overall nutritious and flavorful ingredient, olive oil is also treasured by consumers for many other fine qualities.
It’s in the Milling
Visit your neighborhood grocery store and you’ll see many types of olive oils, including refined, extra light, pure, and virgin. Then there’s ‘Extra Virgin,’ the one that’s known to possess all the finest qualities of a perfect olive oil.
Whether it’s used as a salad or sandwich dressing, a condiment for crusty French bread, or a seasoning, its delicate flavor makes it better for tasting than cooking.
Moreover, extra virgin is the highest graded among all varieties because it’s not processed with an excessive amount of chemicals or treated at high temperatures. This results in a product that is nutritious, flavorful, and highly aromatic.
Needless to say, not all of them are created equally. The difference lies in the way the olives are milled.
Extracting oil from olives requires several steps, followed by most producers worldwide. The process includes thoroughly cleaning the olives; crushing them into a paste; mixing the paste; separating out the oil; and finally, refining and improving it.
With conventional milling, the olive fruit is oxidized, which has a profound effect on the quality of the olive oil. Conventionally milled olives lose a significant amount of their polyphenols -- the health-giving compound that gives olive oil its nutrients, flavor, and aroma.
Varieties like pure, light, extra light, and refined are milled using conventional methods, which is why they have lower polyphenol content compared with extra virgin olive oil.
There’s a more refined process of extracting the flavor and nutritional content of olives, and it’s done through the use of a vacuum. This advanced milling method reduces oxidation, which means the olive oil produced retains a substantial amount of polyphenols.
Olive oil produced via this method is also closely monitored throughout the entire milling process and involves processing olives based on their individual variety. For example, one variety might need to be crushed faster while another variety might need to be mixed more thoroughly. This method makes it possible to attend to each type of olives’ requirements, which results in the production of high-quality olive oil. One fine example is our very own Sir Richard’s Intense Olive Oil.
But if this method of producing olive oil is so ideal, why are there so few producers doing it? It's because there are only five vacuum-powered mills in the world, and Saltonstall Estate has one of them!
But producing premium-quality olive oil requires more than special milling equipment. It requires experts who know how nuances in flavor and aroma contribute to producing high-grade olive oil that truly deserves to be called extra virgin.
Here at Saltonstall Estate, we combine time-tested harvesting techniques and advanced vacuum milling technology to produce some of the finest olive oil in the world. Order from our online store or schedule a visit to our estate!