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No, green and black olives are not different varieties; they are just reaped at different times during the season. The green olives are taken earlier from the tree (starting in October) whereas the black olives are fully matured and taken from the tree in November/December or later. For this reason the taste of black olives is milder and that of green olives is more fresh. The full maturity of black olives is also the reason for the fact that the stone is easier to take off than at green olives.
There are never really black olives; even fully matured olives are dark brown. If you see somewhere dark black olives be sure that they are always chemically coloured.
In the Kreta-Agora shop all products are without chemical colour so that our black olives are brown and not black.
Extra virgin designates the highest quality grade of olive oils. These oils must comply with a lot of criteria such as taste, colour and chemical ingredients. But most important is the fact that the oil is extracted without heat (the temperature must not exceed 27°C) only by mechanical means (centrifugation). This process is often called cold-extraction and the oil therefore cold-pressed. This is a very important aspect of olive oil because higher temperatures destroy the vitamins and anti-oxidants which are so helpful to maintain our health.
Each oil - even the mildest one - contains a certain acidity. The number indicates this acidity in percent: the smaller the number the milder and better is the oil.
Extra virgin olive oil for example is allowed to have an acidity until 0,8 percent, usually in the trade you find a mix between 0,5 and 0,8.
Kreta-Agora offers with the 0,3 oils really top quality.
- What is the reason for the various olive oil acidities?
The oil with e.g. 0,2% acidity is extracted from the same olives than the 0,3 oil. The difference does not come from different olive kinds but for example in the way of production. If the olives are taken from the trees immediately to the oil mills the best quality oil can be extracted. If the olives stay more than 2 days after the harvest without extraction the quality will be less and the acidity will rise. Another reason for a higher acidity can be the insect attacks on the olive trees. If the winter temperatures are in average quite high a lot of vermins can survive and penetrade into the olives so that the quality is very low.
Surely not. If it was true that you cannot use olive oil for cooking then you would never find a good piece of meat in the Cretan families or tavernas. In Crete the people use nothing else for cooking than olive oil.
You can use a good olive oil for all cookings, even for preparing a steak or frying potatoes in the pan.
If the glass of olive paste is open always smoothen the surface after use and take care that a little layer of olive oil stays above it. If neccessary put a small amount of olive oil on the top again. So the paste can stay fresh in the refrigerator even a few weeks.
Like a good wine a good natural olive oil (especially extra virgin) has yearly differences in colour and taste, too.
The main reason is the yearly amount of rain or artificial watering which can differ from year to year. For example the winter 2015/2016 was very dry so that artificial irrigation was necessary even in the springtime in order to gain olives with enough pulp.
Second is the temperature in autumn and winter: If these seasons are too warm the vermin will grow and reduce the quality of the olives and the oil.
Another important factor is the time between pressing anf bottling of the oil: Olive oil needs time to reach maturity, i.e. to settle suspended solids so that the oil becomes more mild. We always try to find the ideal time of bottling but sometimes the oil ripens even in the bottle or tin.
There are more factors which have influence on the consistency of olive oil; the ones above are the most important of them. In any case consider olive oil like a good wine: it does not taste the same every year; only mixed olive oil has always the same taste - like mixed wines.