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There it is on the shelf - the good MANI organic olive oil from Greece. Ready to enrich German and Austrian cuisine with Mediterranean delights. But how is extra virgin olive oil produced? It is a long way from the tree to the shop shelf. Because one thing is certain: high-quality end products only come from high-quality production. In olive oil production, it is important to combine a first-class location and soil conditions with the optimal harvest time and a production process that is as gentle as possible. The south of Greece, where MANI olive oil comes from, plays several trump cards in this respect:
An olive oil may only be called (extra) virgin if it is produced directly from olives and free of chemical additives. MANI organic olives grow without pesticides and herbicides - natural traps are used instead in the fight against pests. And of course, the MANI olive producers also do without artificial fertilisers.
In order for the olives to grow well and aromatically, the olive grove needs to be cared for extensively. This means cutting back the dead branches every year so that all the olives receive equal sunlight as they ripen. For an optimal water and nutrient balance, the soil must also be loosened regularly.
In Mani, the olives are ready for harvesting between November and January. First, large nets are spread under the trees. To remove the stone fruits from the branches as gently as possible, they are usually harvested by hand or with the help of electric shaking poles. The shaking causes the olives to fall down from the tree and softly into the nets - without coming into contact with soil or dirt. From the nets, the olives go directly to the nearest oil mill. Only if the olives are processed as quickly as possible can the "grassy, fruity" (Burgi Bläuel) aroma be preserved.
Good to know:
One litre of olive oil requires about eight kilograms of olives. About 60 kg are shaken from an average olive tree per year. A single olive tree therefore yields around 7.5 litres of olive oil per year.
In olive oil production, gentle harvesting is an important step
Thanks to the gentle production of the olive oil, all MANI olive oils are delicious in raw food quality. During the entire extraction process, a temperature of 27 °C is not exceeded, because this is the only way to preserve the valuable vitamins and minerals. To get the olive into the bottle as oil, the following steps have to be taken:
MANI olive oil is extracted from whole olives. When the olives arrive at the oil mill, they are poured into funnels and sent to be washed on a conveyor belt. While the olives are rolling over the belt, superfluous harvest remnants such as leaves or branches are sorted out. After washing, the olives are crushed. This is usually done with the help of stainless steel mills or heavy stones. The result? A pulpy mass of fruit flesh and crushed seeds.
For a long time, cold pressing was used in the production of olive oil. Today, it is considered outdated and is hardly ever used for the production of high-quality olive oil. During pressing, the olive paste was applied to nylon or bast mats, which were then stacked on top of each other. Due to the high weight of several mats on top of each other, a liquid oil-water mixture was squeezed out of the paste, which dripped downwards.
The great advantage of cold extraction over cold pressing is that it is a closed system. This prevents oxygen from entering and reducing the quality of the oil through oxidation. In cold extraction, the fruit pulp is put into a large centrifuge. Similar to a large washing drum, the centrifuge spins its contents until the heavy pulp and kernels are left hanging on the edge and all the liquid has drained out through the centre. The end product of the first "spin cycle" is a mixture of oil and fruit water. The fruit water is then filtered out in a second centrifuge.
The cold-extracted olive oil usually still contains a lot of suspended matter. To allow these to settle and be removed as sediment, the oil is allowed to rest, sometimes for several days.
In a final step, the olive oil is filtered. This also removes the very last deposits. After filtering, the olive oil production is considered complete.
With the gentle production, the most important steps on the way to a high-quality olive oil have been taken. But one decisive point still needs to be realised: storage protected from light and heat. In addition, the temperature at the storage site should be between 10 and 20 °C and the oil should rarely come into contact with oxygen.
After cold extraction, the MANI olive oil is filled into opaque oil tanks, which are sealed oxygen-proof and stored at constant low temperatures. In order to be optimally protected from light and heat on the way from the sales shelf to the kitchen, all MANI olive oils travel either in canisters (BPA-free and without varnish) or in darkened glass bottles.
Good to know: The minimum shelf life of unopened olive oil is 8 to 24 months on average. For a long shelf life, the oil should also be stored at home in a cool place without direct sunlight. In addition, to give oxygen no chance, opened oils should not be left with the lid open.
In MANI olive oil production, the olives are collected in nets
MANI olive oils are not only a real raw food pleasure, they also taste good all round. In the production of their olive oils, the Bläuel family - the founders of MANI - name sustainability and humanity as their most important company values, in addition to first-class quality. Fair prices for all involved and cooperation at eye level - this is the basis for the success of the family business MANI from the first litre of olive oil bottled to the present day.
In order to counteract food waste and make an environmentally conscious statement, MANI Küchenheld saw the light of day in 2020. In the production of the organic virgin olive oil, MANI is committed to giving olives with slight damage, such as bruises caused by rain, a purpose. The difference here is mainly on paper anyway. According to European Regulation (EC) No. 1234/2007 (updated 61/2011), only olive oils with an acidity of up to 0.8 may bear the designation "extra virgin". However, the slight damage has very little influence on the taste. O-Ton, Felix Bläuel: "We have been working in close cooperation with the olive growers for 40 years and so it is a logical step for us to also buy the imperfect natural product from them, i.e. the olive oil that is not extra virgin."