Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil in the whole world!
No, it is not Italy as many people may think. Spain produces on average about 44% of the world’s supply of olive oil each year, twice as much as Italy and four times as much as Greece. Spanish olive oil production works out at 1.2 million tonnes of olive oil annually. Spain has a huge variety of olive oils to choose from, many of which you can find overseas as well. From spicy and fresh bright green oils to fruity golden oils to processed cooking oils. However, not every variety of olive is consistently used to make oil! Of the 200+ varieties found in Spain, about 24 are regularly used in the oil making process, each one with a distinct, delicious flavor.
Spain is home to about 300 million olive trees. It may seem incredible, but the number of olive trees in Spain is roughly the same as the total population of the United States of America.
Types of oilve oil
There are 3 main types of quality:
- Extra Virgin olive oil is the healthiest type of olive oil that exits. Nothing is added to this type of olive oil, it is 100% natural. It is high in natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is usually a darker green colour and has a lot of flavour. It is made by simply washing the harvested olives, crushing them, and extracting the juice. The acidity level in this oil is less than 1%. It shouldn’t really be used for deep frying as it has a lower smoking point than vegetable oil, and heating it makes it lose flavour. You would use this oil for dressing a salad or having on bread as it has more flavour. You can also use Extra virgin olive oil to moisturise your skin, hair and scalp or as a makeup remover.How can you use it?
Extra virgin olive oil is the perfect choice for recipes and preparations when the oil is eaten raw. Use it for vinaigrettes, sauces, vegetables, salads and generally, for any instance when you just need to drizzle some olive oil to finish your recipe.Having said this, I must admit that I use extra virgin olive oil for pretty much everything other than deep frying!
- Virgin olive oil is produced in the same way with no additives, 100% natural, using riper olives. It has a slightly lighter flavour and is possibly lighter in colour also. This oil can be used for cooking a stir fry for example and would have an acidity level of about 2%.How can you use it?
You can use virgin olive oil for the same stuff you use extra virgin olive oil. All you should know is that needless to say, virgin olive oil has an inferior quality.
- Standard or pure olive oil is a lower quality oil that goes through a refining process and is often blended with other vegetable oils when made. Often olives that are in a bad condition are used in this process. It is much lighter in colour, is practically tasteless and would have no bitterness to it. Heat and chemicals are also used in the process of making this oil to remove any flaws in the olives, making it more highly acidic. This one would be used as an all-purpose cooking oil and contains far fewer amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties than other types of olive oil.How can you use it?
Olive oil is an appropriate choice to be used at high temperatures, such as deep frying, grills, barbecues or oven baking.
What to know more about how olive oil is produced?
Why don´t you join us for a private oilve oil tour. On this day tour from Malaga or Marbella you will learn about the whole process of producing high quality olive oil, including a delicious breakfast and olive oil tasting.