As our season here in Umbria comes to an end, the one activity we look forward to is our olive harvest. Harvesting and pressing your very own olives and turning it into extra virgin olive oil is extremely rewarding, and the nectar we are gifted is unbelievably delicious. If you can, visit an Italian specialty store, olive oil store, or even look online and buy even a small bottle of this year’s olive oil to try. This year’s olive harvest has just begun, and will continue through the winter months, so it may not be available outside of Italy for a few weeks. Fresh pressed olive oil is unlike any other olive oil you will taste so I believe it is worth the investment when it is finally available. The perfect way to enjoy this freshly harvested oil is to heavily drizzle it on warm grilled slices of crusty Italian bread, and then sprinkle coarse sea salt on top just before serving. Amazing!
This year we picked our olives a little earlier than we usually do, and we expected our harvest to be smaller than previous years as it was an unusually hot and dry spring. We ended up picking 16 cases of olives over two days (we had 19 last year), which was just under 900 pounds in total weight. From the 900 pounds of olives we brought to the mill, we ended up with 65 liters of liquid gold (or green) to bring home. This fall has also been unusually warm, so we had glorious weather for our harvest with midday temperatures 75 degrees F. and above. Though the mornings started off chilly, foggy and damp, by mid morning the sun came out and burned off the fog and we had two lovely days for picking olives.
Olive oil is a extremely valuable ingredient to any Mediterranean kitchen with multiple health benefits despite being high in calories. Organic olive oil is also filled with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that may protect you against illnesses. Studies have shown that organic olive oil can help protect you from heart disease, promote healthy digestion, reduce stomach conditions such as ulcers and gastritis, reduce inflammation, lower gallstone formation, and balance the fats in your body actually helping to control obesity. Certainly I should be remarkably healthy indeed considering all the olive oil I use in my kitchen each day! It is reported that even two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day will help regulate your cholesterol levels and improve antioxidant blood levels.
Join Us For Our 2012 Olive Harvest @ Il Casale di Mele!
Our First Tree Picked Early Morning Day 1 – Cool, Damp & Foggy Start!
Luckily The Sun Soon Came Out And We Worked Quickly Through The Trees Raking Off The Olives
The Crates Are Filling Quickly
Me Raking The Olives End Of Day One
Our Olive Harvest Supervisor On Kitty Patrol
Even The Chickens, Henrietta, Rosie, Penelope & Lucy Were Interested In The Harvest
Every Shade From Grenn To Black
The Final Tree On Day Two With Louie & Our Friend Gino
Two Days Of Picking, 16 Cases Of Olives Ready To Be Packed Into Our Car
This Year We Chose A Local, Family Run Mill
Dumping Into Containers To Be Weighed & Washed
Washed & Heading Into The Press To Be Turned Into OLive Oil
Mashing The Olives & Extracting The Pits
Inside The Frantoia (Olive Mill)
First Taste Of Our Own Oil This Year Right From The Press!
As Soon As We Returned Home With Our 65 Liters Of Oil We Grilled Bread To Try It