Olive picking

The majority of olives are picked following the traditional method, one by one, in order to avoid damaging the fruit, only then the most modern technologies are used to transport, manipulate and elaborate them inside modern industries.

Table olive plantation maintenance requires techniques which can easily be compared with gardening ones, and once the olive reaches its proper point of ripeness it is picked by hand in order to avoid damaging the fruit itself. This alone gives a picture of the amount of workforce required in the task.

A similar range of needs is also present in the pickling, choosing, classification, stone extraction, stuffing and packaging.

Olive picking takes place in the months of September and October, when the fruit reaches the right size and starts changing colour.

There are mainly two different processing methods, depending on the final product, green or black olives:

Green or black olives

Green Olives

Once the olives reach the factory, they undergo specific treatment, aimed at eliminating their bitterness and prepare them for subsequent lactic fermentation. This process also develops the olives’ organoleptic qualities. After that, the olives are placed in brine for a period of time of between two and four months. Depending on their type, variety and planned presentation. In this stage the olive ferments, a process which makes it edible.

Black Olives

A different process. Once arrived in the factory they are put in bryne directly, and once classified they undergo specific treatment which is aimed at giving them their characteristic colour. They are jarred and preserved by heat sterilisation.

ELABORATION processes

  • Pickling. This is the process by which olives of any of the three types (green, of variable colours and black), are treated in an alkaline solution and subsequently putting them in brine, which makes them ferment completely or partially.
  • Seasoning in brine. This is the process by which olives of any of the three types undergo immediate brining, where they ferment completely or partially.
  • Oxidation. This is the process by which green or variable colour olives, which may or may not have previously been fermented in brine, undergo oxidation in an alkaline solution.
  • Dehydration. Is the process by which any of the three types of olives above mentioned lose their water by being placed in dry salt and/or heated or dried through other technological processes.
  • Other elaboration processes. Olives may be treated in different or additional ways to those mentioned, however, the fruit used must be within the established general regulatory standards. Denominations used for these specialities must be sufficiently explicit as not to cause doubt or confusion in purchasers regarding the origin or genuine nature of the product, within the established general regulatory standards.

Canned olives

Basic PRESERVATION processes

  • Specific characteristics of this elaboration. Preservation is achieved by way of physical and chemical modifications which are brought by means of the presence of substances such as salt, acids, spices, etc., added or formed during the elaboration process.
  • Protective atmosphere. Is achieved through the total or partial elimination of air and its substitution with authorised inert gases.
  • Vacuum. Is the total or partial elimination of air. Addition of preservatives. The olives are preserved by adding currently authorised preservatives.
  • Freezing. Preservation and storage of olives at a temperature which impedes the formation of toxic micro-organisms which would cause food poisoning.
  • Pasteurisation. This is the preserving process by which olives undergo adequate heating through which, in “table olives”, common pathogenic micro-organisms are destroyed.
  • Sterilization. Is the process by which table olives undergo specific thermal treatment aimed at destroying or deactivating all forms of pathogenic and non pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins. These forms of preservation may be applied separately or in series in order to sum their effects.

Ingredients used

The following products, which must be in line with legal prerequisites, are authorised by specific regulations for use in the elaboration of table olives:

  • Olives
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Edible sugars
  • Any other edible product
  • Plants, spices or any other aromatic product along with its extracts, following current regulation
  • Brine

Only preservatives which are authorised by current preservative section of Health Regulations may be used in the elaboration of products, as per current legislation.