Where To Go:
When I first moved to Cyprus I had no idea how easy it was to convert crates full of olives into the olive oil in bottles we have at home. There are about 35 olive oil presses around Cyprus and to find your closest one, you simply have to phone the phone directory and ask you to connect you to your nearest “Eleotrivio” – olive mill – to find out where the are located, or leave a message below and I can help point you in the right direction.
“Cold Press” – Why It’s Important & What It Means
To understand why the Oras “Eleotrivio” stood out in my mind, it is useful to understand one term that is particularly significant during the “pressing” stage. And that word is “cold press”. Personally, I think this word is quite important, but some websites (like the Olive Oil Source) have actually classified the term “cold press” as “obsolete and unregulated”. Well why the discrepancy in opinion? Here is the answer:
According to the “Olive Oil Source”, “cold pressed” is an anachronistic and largely unregulated label description for olive oil. Fifty years ago when most oil was made in vertical presses, the paste was pressed to make olive oil and then mixed with hot water or steam and pressed again to remove more oil. This “second pressing” was not as good; the heat had evaporated some of the delicate flavors and healthy components.
But today the paste is almost always warmed to room temperature during the malaxation process before being centrifuged using horizontal decanters. (Don’t worry if that didn’t make sense, keep reading, the key point is made below). According to International Olive Council regulations this is still considered “cold pressed”, and according to the EU for olive oil to be labeled “cold pressed” the olive paste must be kept under 27C during the malaxation and extraction process.
The main point to gather from all of this is that nowadays olive paste is usually heated when making olive oil. And, heating the olive paste excessively increases yield but degrades flavor. So, it is best – if possible – to make olive oil without heating it, i.e. in the more traditional way which involves vertical cold-pressing.
It doesn’t actually take as long as you might think. It obviously depends on how many olives you have. Most people take between 1 to 2 hours at an olive press. Keep in mind that you will have to wait your turn if there are others there at the same time. At most olive presses, people pour their olives and then go to wait for the olive oil on the other end of the process with their storage containers at hand. Most olive presses sell these containers, so don’t worry if you don’t have any to hand.How Do I Store The Olive Oil?
Roughly speaking, you will probably end up with about 1L of olive oil for every 5-6 kilograms of olives. This is assuming your olives are good quality and fleshy.
Once the olive oil begins to pour out, it will have a green undertone and when you taste it, you will still be able to taste some of the bitterness from the fresh olives – this will fade away, but to be honest, I enjoy this flavour. It is a reminder of where the olives came from, and the fact that your olive oil is as fresh as possible. Freshly pressed olive oil goes great on a piece of toast, which is what a lot of people in Cyprus enjoy it with as soon as they take it home.
In our family, the olive oil is allowed to rest. If it is a year when there are lots of olives – usually every other year – then we will pour the olive oil into a large cauldron and let it sit for about two weeks. Otherwise, we simply let the olive oil rest in the containers.
I am a big fan of storing my olive oil in glass containers – not plastic – as I worry about chemical leaching. But it is entirely up to you. Whatever method you use, ensure that you keep the olive oil out of the sun. Otherwise it will react with the olive oil.