QUALITIES OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL PICUAL VARIETY

General characteristics

It is the most important variety in the world, representing 50% of Spain’s olives and trees and around 20% of the world’s. This variety has different names depending on the production zone (Marteña, Lopereña, Nevadillo Blanco, etc), but is main name comes from the shape of the fruit: a pointed almond. It is the most stable of all the varieties planted in Spain, meaning that it maintains a constant production average. It has the highest total fats index, but it is not very resistent to hydric stress and prolonged freezes of over five days. Very resistent to Seca or Verticilosis Dalihae

Picual olive oil

From a physical chemical point of view, it is excellent because of its fatty acid composition and its amount of natural antioxidants. Its high monounsaturated oleic acid content, which is important for preventing risks of cardiovascular diseases, its low linoleic acid content (an essential acid for the human diet, but which appears in excess and is a point of oxidation causing the formation of free radicals harmful for certain human organs) and its high polyphenol content make it the most stable oil in existence, which means a longer shelf life and excellent behaviour when used in thermal cooking. From an organoleptic point of view, it would be necessary to differentiate between the plain and the mountain, since their organoleptic profiles are very different. In the case of plain oils, they are large bodied, usually bitter and with a certain wood flavour. Mountain ones are usually sweeter, albeit with a “fresh” and pleasant flavour.

The tree

It is strong, with branches that are rather short and tend to produce shoots and suckers. Its cups are tough and tend to close, with good foliage development, the young wood being greyish green in colour. They produce early and have high productivity, and this is one of reasons why their plantations have intensified. It is a type of tree that adapts to different climate and soil conditions and tolerates freezes, but is not very resistent to drought and limier soils.

The leaf

It is rather long and wide in its upper half.

The fruit

It is usually medium to thick size, around 3.2 grammes and with a round and long shape, with a straight point at the end. The pulp/pit ratio is around 5:6. Maturation occurs from the second week of November until the third week of December. The fat yield is very good, sometimes reaching 27%.

QUALITIES OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL CORNICABRA VARIETY

General characteristics

This variety is, in terms of the number of acres grown, the second more important, but the third in terms of production. Its name comes from its fruit’s characteristic horn shape. Since it is grown at different locations, it has numerous meanings, all of which refer to its peculiar horn curved fruit: corniche, cornezuelo, etc.

Cornicabra olive oil

It is golden yellow in colour, with slight greenish reflections that anticipate its fruity attribute. When it is obtained from more mature olives, at the end of the harvest, it is characteristic for different flavours and textures reminiscent of exotic fruits like the avocado to appear. Cornicabra olive oils are fruity and have a notable balance between sweet at the start, the bitterness of green leaves and medium intensity piquant, with a fluid and velvety texture. They are stable olive oils due to their high monounsaturated fatty acid content. Their balanced composition of essential fatty acids, high oleic acid content and smaller components that produce excellent aromas and flavours make them especially suitable for healthy diets.

The tree

The Cornicabra olive tree is an ancient cultivar that in all likelihood constitutes a population variety with a great amount of local ecotypes that have adapted well to the environment. This variety has medium robustness with medium long branches, scant formation of shoots and showing young wood with a light grey ochre tone colour.

The leaf

Long and symmetrical, it has a light green tone on the upper and back sides.

The fruit

The olive is long and rather curved, asymmetrical, padded and flat on the back, with a stomach in the shape of a horn and a medium size and weight (some 3 grammes), but with a high fat yield of around 19% and a high pulp/pit ratio (5). The fruits have late maturation, which usually starts in the last week of October and ends the first week of January. Its high resistance to detaching makes it hard to collect it mechanically.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF BOTH VARIETIES

The nutritional value of olive oil is particularly important with regard to prevention. In other words, it prevents the occurrence of illnesses and, if they do occur, said illnesses will be less serious and will establish themselves as late as possible, enabling us to achieve the greatest longevity possible with fewer health problems.

The most outstanding aspects that research has enabled us to conclude are the following:

Stomach:

  • Less reflux of the contents (reduces acidic attack of the oesophageal mucosa).
  • It partially inhibits gastric motility (slower and more gradual emptying, therefore, we have a greater sensation of fullness and a better absorption of nutrients).
  • Reduces gastric acidity.

Liver and gall bladder:

  • It stimulates bile acid synthesis.
  • It helps reduce plasma cholesterol.
  • It reduces the presence of gallstones (when taken regularly).

Intestine:

  • It impedes cholesterol absorption.
  • It improves nutrient absorption.

Antioxidant:

  • The oxygen we breathe and that enables us to live is also behind the production of what are known as free radicals. This oxidative stress will partly depend on the existence of components in the membranes or outside them that act as antioxidants. The ingestion of extra virgin olive oil provides membranes that are slightly unsaturated and, therefore, less oxidisable, and also provides antioxidant components that minimise the inevitable oxidative stress.

Diabetes:

  • It enables a lower elevation of blood glucose, also requiring lower insulin doses.

Cardiovascular system:

  • It prevents and controls so-called bad cholesterol by preventing high concentrations of LDL cholesterol or low concentrations of HDL cholesterol that can cause arterial obstructions with the resultant risk of heart attack.

CULINARY QUALITY

Those wishing to control their weight usually have little regard for fried food, which is almost automatically associated with higher calorie intake. However, it must be borne in mind that only olive oil can reach 175-180ºC without breaking down or losing its qualities, therefore, food acquires fewer calories and preserves its juices and mineral salts on the inside.


Unlike what many think, olive oil is not only for dressing salads. Its aromas and flavours combine perfectly with a great variety of preparations, from starters to dessert. Pastries, soups, stews, vegetables, pasta, all kinds of meat, seafood, rice and any pulse can benefit from the properties of this thousand-year-old product.

COMMERCIAL QUALITY

Oxidative stability, despite not being a quality parameter included in legislation, is very important when it comes to being familiar with an oil’s susceptibility to oxidation and its shelf life.


All this is carried out using the Rancimat method, which ranges from treating them in air currents of 50ºC to 220ºC. Our two oil varieties obtain the best results of all the varieties in the oxidation process, which are:

  • Picual Variety, 115 weeks
  • Cornicabra Variety, 110 weeks

With these results and by taking minimum care when exposing or storing our product, we manage to have a quality product for much longer.


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