In a recent archeological dig, an olive mill was found dating back over 5,000 years. In ancient times, olive oil was created by crushing olives, pits and all, with stones into a paste called “pomace”. In villages of antiquity, this was usually a chore for the women who would crush the olives by hand. As time evolved and even today on small batch family estates, a donkey will walk around a circular stone tub filled with olives, crushing them with a stone weighing 1000 pounds or more known as millstones. The pomace is then put into baskets, usually made of hemp or coconut fibers, and stacked on a pole; one on top of the other. Stones or weights are placed on top pressing the oil out of the baskets and into a stone tub or vessel below. This form of crushing the fruit produces no heat thereby producing a healthy oil. Note: To see a short video, visit our website blog at http://blog.abingdonoliveoil.com/making-olive-oil/
Modern milling techniques use stainless steel machines called “malaxers.” The olives are first shaken on open weave conveyor belts to separate the stems and any stones, then washed three times then gently moved into a malaxer. Inside the malaxer, the olives are gently turned and churned to create the pomace. This keeps the fruit from bruising; setting up the oxidation process that would lead to an overripe affect of the finished olive oil. Think of bananas or a cut apple that turns brown when dropped or is exposed to oxygen in the air.
IOOC (International Olive Oil Commission) standards require olive oil to be produced at 27C (80F) or below to create olive oil that retains characteristics and chemical content required by the IOOC for human consumption. Since the malaxer is stainless steel, some heat is produced during the malaxing process. Therefore, an outer casing around the malaxing device holds water maintained at a certain temperature to keep the pomace from overheating. Once the pomace is created, it is moved to a centrifuge where the oil is separated from the naturally occurring water in the fruit.
Because the pits hold a great deal of nutrients, as in ancient times, our producers crush the whole fruit, olive and pits. However, the pits can be a bit waxy. Since our oils are never filtered, they will vary in clarity, texture and viscosity.
Come into Abingdon Olive Oil Company today to sample The Taste of Good Health!