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The process of transforming the olives into 100% Italian extra -virgin olive oil involves several preparatory operations studied in detail.
The olive harvest in Puglia generally lasts from October to December. Salento olives are harvested directly from the plant at the right degree of ripeness, called veraison. The harvesting method to use depends on the plant, it can be partly mechanical by shaking and partly by hand, by hand picking. The olives of the Apulian tradition are placed in ventilated boxes and immediately taken to the mill to be transformed. This phase is very important to avoid the start of fermentation and oxidation. In order to obtain quality extra- virgin olive oil grown in Salento, every moment of transformation must be carefully monitored and checked in its critical points as an error in the processing phase would significantly affect the quality of the product and would be difficult to recover.
One of the first operations of transformation into extra- virgin oil after the olive harvest is the defoliation, which is important to remove the rotten leaves and the twigs that occurred during the harvest. Washing the olives is important to eliminate the hints of "dirt" and "earth" in the Apulian oil, obtained from olives that have traces of soil, as well as essential for preserving the breaking organs from abnormal wear.
Pressing represents an important critical point for the quality of extra- virgin olive oil, as it affects the organoleptic and health properties of that traditional Apulian artisan product which is Salento oil. The olives of the Apulian land undergo a mechanical pressing process that produces a strong tearing and crushing action on the pulp, stone and skin. This allows to obtain a very high- quality product, which does not undergo changes in its organoleptic properties, thus maintaining high quality and hygienic standards of the typical Salento product.
The kneading represents another fundamental point of the extraction process. During the kneading operation, the paste of the Salento olives, in order to favour a positive enzymatic action, is kept at a temperature of 24-27 ° c and subjected to slow stirring which favours the aggregation of the original Salento oil in drops of such size as to allow subsequent separation by centrifugation.
The extraction systems can significantly affect the compositional and organoleptic profile of extra- virgin olive oil and in particular the aromatic substances and minor antioxidant components. Our continuous centrifugation process allows us to obtain a high presence of phenolic substances in the Apulian oil, important for our body. Moreover, thanks to a careful and accurate separation of the extra -virgin oil carried out by constantly monitored machinery, we are able to obtain a high -quality product, original from the Salento area.