Quality of Eretz Gshur olive oil The process of producing the Eretz Gshur olive oil includes total control of each part of it: from vineyards' location and type of soil, through self-production of seedlings to the harvesting process, production of the oil and preservation in stainless steel containers in the modern oil press.

 

Extra virgin olive oil is defined as oil that have been produced by mechanical extraction only and not by chemical extraction. First step in oil production is crushing the olives into a uniform mixture. It could be done using a stone crushing the olives, or using a steel shredder with knives or hammers.

 

There are several methods to separate the oil from the mixture. The taditional one is pressing the mixture. The mixture is put in baskets made of fabric, and then the baskets are arranged in a pile and are pressed with a screw or a piston. The oil drips and gathered in the bottom of the pile.

 

The separating process in Eretz Gshur oil press is done in several stages. The oil is in the olive's cells, which are smaller than one millimeter. The crushing may break the olives but the oil is still drips in small drops. Therefore, the first stage is a slow stirring of the olive mixture. The stirring makes the oil drops merge and this is a first separation of the oil from the other fruit components. Next separation stage is done with centrifuges (Decanter). The separation is based on the specific gravity of the oil, water and the solid waste of the olives. The rapid rotation of the centrifuge throws each component to a different distance and creates separation of the oil from the rest of the components. The centrifuges separate the mixture into three components – oil, water and dry, solid waste – a process called "working with three phases", or separation into two components – oil and waste – a process called "working with two phases". During the latter, the water remain with the solid waste and wet waste is obtained. In both processes, the last stage in the oil press is another centrifuge, a faster one, that separates water leftovers from the oil.

 

The oil obtained is not clean in every kind of oil press, due to presence of small particles of olive mixture that were not separated in the centrifuge because of their small size. This is a "first harvest" oil that is mostly characterized by relatively strong tastes that are beloved among some people. This feature disappears over time, because the particles sink to the bottom of the container or the bottle. A gentle bottle shaking will make the particles hover and the initial taste returns.

 

The oil is about ten to twenty percent of the olives' weight. The oil measure in the olive depends on the species, the growing methods, the date of harvest and… in weather. If the olives are harvested right after it rains, the olives gain weight and the oil percent drops.

 

There are several methods to raise the amount of oil produced in oil press, but these methods might impair the quality of the oil. Heating, for example, will increase the oil percent, but will also evaporate ingredients of taste and smell of the olives and will harm the taste of the oil. In cold press, the temperature must not exceed 28 degrees Celsius. Stirring length also affects the amount of produced oil. Since the mixture is exposed to oxidation during this process, long stirring also harms the oil quality. 45 minutes stirring is considered reasonable without harming the oil.

 

Using the mechanical harvester of Gshur allows harvesting a large amount of olives in a short time. It also allows a quick arrival of the olives to the oil press – 2-4 hours from the beginning of the same day's harvest. This quickness allows immediate producing of oil, before oxidation starts. This is how we prevent unwanted aftertastes and acidity increase. The strictness continues in the oil press, where we keep a low pressing temperature and a minimal mixing length, in order to keep the healthy components and unique aromas of each species.

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