Olive Harvests

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Olive harvests..... fall..... winter..... spring.....

Fall Harvest – Olives have reached their full size in the fall. They may not fully ripen from green to black until late winter. Green olives have more bitterness and can be higher in disease-fighting polyphenols. They have slightly less oil so the oil tends to cost more, because it takes more olives to make one bottle.

Flavor notes of astringent, pungent, green, grass, and green leaf are used to describe early-harvest oils. Early-harvest oils often have a longer shelf life, because of the higher polyphenols and antioxidants, and are blended with late-harvest oils to improve their shorter shelf life.

Winter Harvest – Olives are ripe and black, and have more oil than fall harvest. However, at this time of year the days are shorter and there is the risk of frost ruining the crop.

The late-harvest fruit has a light, mellow taste with little bitterness and more floral flavors. Flavor notes of fruity, buttery, rotund, sweet, perfumy, soave, apple, banana, peach, and melon are used to describe these oils.

Spring Harvest – This is the last time to pick and press the olives, and is from Early March through late April. These olives are very ripe and the oil from them is the most delicate. It is described as buttery sweet. California’s Sciabica family calls it “Limited Release” because of its scarcity.

The time of the olive harvests determine the flavor note of the oil.

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