What is cold pressed? What are we referring to when we say that olive oil is cold pressed? Is it true that it is pressed or are more modern technologies being used so that the olive oil maintains all of its aroma and taste?
In this post, we are going to shed some light on this matter which often causes some confusion among consumers. We will also explain if cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is the most natural.
Does cold pressed olive oil exist or not?
In the first place, we are going to analyse what the expression ‘cold pressed’ means. Cold pressing is a way of producing extra virgin olive oil. Broadly speaking, it consists in pressing and grinding the olives.
In the past, huge millstones were used, the majority of them made from granite and drawn by animals. More recently, industrial presses were used to increase production.
With these methods, the intention was to preserve each and every one of the properties that the olive contains. In this way, high quality olive oil is produced. It is a pure product which we can call, without any element of doubt, the true juice of the olive.
The only disadvantage of cold pressing – although it can sometimes be considered a great advantage – is that production is lower. That is to say, fewer litres of olive oil per kilo of olives. It is for that precise reason that a very high quality oil is produced.
Cold pressed or cold extraction?
But nowadays, is the expression ‘cold pressed’ correct or would it be much better to say ‘cold extraction’? Well, if we take into account the latest advances in food technology, the most appropriate expression would be to use ‘cold extraction’.
None of the best oil mills in the world use any type of press any more for extraction. They have opted for the system of continuous extraction in two stages. These systems have absolutely nothing to do with traditional pressing.
Nevertheless, on some occasions, you can still read the expression ‘cold pressed’. But we have to say that this has absolutely no connection with the best olive oils in the world.
In Masía El Altet, we use continuous extraction technology so that you can enjoy the taste of the true juice of the olive and also, so that you can benefit from all the properties of the best extra virgin olive oil.
Why is it called ‘cold extraction’?
It has all to do with the temperature. To be more precise, the temperature to which the mass is submitted. It is from the mass that we will later obtain the olive oil. What is the optimum temperature? What you will always hear is below 27ºC but at Masía El Altet, the temperature is around 21º or 22ºC. This is the optimum temperature for the olive oil to conserve all of its properties and its aroma and taste. In this way, we achieve supreme quality.
For this reason, in order to be able to market extra virgin olive oil, it is necessary and obligatory to use thermometers. These thermometers ensure that the temperature during production never goes above 23ºC. That is how we do it at Masía El Altet.
As with cold pressing, the consequence of constantly maintaining the mass at a temperature of less than 23ºC is that fewer litres of olive oil per kilo of olive are obtained. But, in exchange for that, we are preserving all of the properties of the fruit of the olive.
It is certain that what many oil mills do increase this temperature. By doing this, they increase the quantity of oil produced. But in this case, we are not talking about real extra virgin olive oil. We are possibly looking at refined olive oils. They are blends which try to ‘mask’ the imperfections of this type of oils.
The extra virgin olive oil from cold extraction is, therefore, the most natural which exists. Modern agro-alimentary techniques are very important but so is picking the fruit at its exact moment of ripening, controlling the process of transporting the olives to the mill and their storage.
Conclusions about cold pressing
Cold pressed or from first pressing, as you can also read in some posts, refers to the use of a press for the extraction of the olive oil. But nowadays, practically all commercial brands already use much more sophisticated industrial techniques such as continuous cold extraction.
At this moment in time, we can say that to use the terms cold pressed or from first pressing is no longer the most correct. New food technologies also ensure – and this is something which is very good news for the consumer – higher health and safety standards.
Besides, all mills and as a consequence, the whole food industry, are obliged to have a registered health certificate. It is this certificate which permits them to sell their products to the public in general.
If a press is used, obtaining this certificate is much more complex and for this reason, selling this food product would be much more complicated. The most modern mills, as is the case with Masía El Altet, use centrifuges to extract olive oil.
To sum up, olive oil isn’t pressed any more. Instead, it is obtained by mechanical means. Its extraction is the consequence of the pressure and force exerted by centrifuging the mass. This force is what enables the oil to be separated from the solids due to the difference in densities. For this reason, the term cold pressed should be substituted by oil produced from first extraction.
Consume oil from cold extraction
Cold extraction at a temperature of always less than 27º is what ensures the possibility of consuming natural high quality oil. It is what also ensures that you are not consuming refined olive oils. These oils have neither the aroma nor the taste that extra virgin olive oils have. Nor do they have all the properties beneficial for your health that the olive contains.
Do you consume olive oil from cold extraction? Are you aware of all of the advantages that this type of oil has?
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