- Juan José Mercado Gavilán.
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The appearance of this olive tree (the ACEBUCHE) is diverse, as is its size. It can grow in small or medium-sized bushes, but also in large trees. Its leaves are lanceolate, but are usually more stylised than those of the common olive tree. The fruit, the wild olive, is small, with irregularities in size.
This type of olive tree grows wild in inaccessible places, coexisting with holm oaks, mastic trees and other Mediterranean species. It is a tree that is fairly resistant to drought, although not so resistant to frost. Its sustenance is based on the natural cycle of nutrients generated in the same environment (so no phytosanitary treatments or fertilisers are used).
Harvesting is difficult and is usually done by milking the branches that support the wild olive trees. Given its light weight, vibrating devices do not work for harvesting. The stone predominates over the pulp, so its fat yield is quite low: about 20 kilos of wild olive are needed to obtain 1 litre of EVOO. This is one of the reasons why this type of oil is little known today, although it must be said that in Roman times it was highly valued for its healing properties (for wounds).
|Total tocopherols (mg/kg)||667,2|
|Vitamin E in 100g (mg)||64,49|
|Total polyphenols (mg Ac. Cafieco/kg)||573|
In terms of chemical analysis, it contains a large amount of TOCOPHEROLS: vitamin E (a nutrient for many bodily processes. It contributes to the proper functioning of nerves and muscles, prevents the formation of blood clots and strengthens the immune system). The amount of this compound in ACEBUCHINA is almost three times higher than in traditional EVOO. In the same line, there is the content of STEROLS, beneficial for cardiovascular health. It is also used to remedy skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.
Organoleptically, it has floral aromas and nuances: wild aromas, predominantly raspberry. Its appearance on the palate has a sensation of less density. It is a subtle EVOO; its bitterness is moderate, but its spiciness stands out (a good sign of its natural antioxidant content).
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The MERGAOLIVA family, since it began its journey in the wonderful world of high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, had in mind the production of wild olive oil after getting to know it through the maquila service we provided to one of our clients: it came from Sierra Morena in Andújar, a natural area distinguished, among other things, by the presence of the Iberian lynx. It was a very pleasant experience, although not without its difficulties given the small size of the fruit. We had to make some modifications to the cleaning machinery, as well as a change of sieve in the mill; we also had to double the assistance of personnel during the cleaning process.
Since then, and after several years, we have been looking for those wild olive trees that are so dear to us. Finally, this year 2020 (so negative due to the Coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic) we have decided to take the step we had been waiting for so long: To obtain this EVOO from wild olives.
We found a small plantation in a steep and rocky area, abandoned for more than 6 years by the only people who frequented it: the shepherd and his flock. The first task was to clean up the wild olive trees: pruning the low branches, first of all, as well as laying down the grass that was so exaggeratedly abundant due to the aforementioned abandonment. Once this had been done, the fruit could then be harvested. This is not an easy task, as we mentioned earlier: the fruit is very small in size and little mechanisation is possible. The farm workers were desperate because they could not see the harvested fruit increase as much as they would have liked. For example, in normal conditions, harvesting the picual variety, they would have harvested 800-1000 kilos per capita, while in the acebuchina harvest they were only able to harvest around 120 kilos per person. But there are times when quantity is not everything: we were looking for the quality granted by the ACEBUCHINA.
This being our first year of research with this variety, we decided to carry out two millings: one in mid-October and the other at the end of December. The maturities are very different: green wild olive and black wild olive. In the first maturation, we obtained outstanding woody tones, while in the second, those tones appeared that surprised us given the advanced maturation: fruits of the forest, raspberry above all. What we experienced and perceived in the blender cannot be explained in words, it will only remain for those of us who were present: a sensory spectacle.
Another of our surprises during the extraction of wild olive oil was the cleanliness of the product after it was obtained: normally, in the other varieties, it appears with many traces of vegetation water and colour pigments depending on its state of ripeness (especially in advanced ripening). In the case of the acebuchina, the oil obtained was exceptionally transparent and clean.
After recounting our experiences with this variety of olive (acebuchina), I would like to add that the real foundation of this oil lies in its polyphenol and tocopherol (vitamin E) content. It is not an exuberant oil in its organoleptic perceptions, but it is an outstanding oil in terms of its health benefits.
As soon as the first ACEBUCHINA EVOO was bottled, we decided to add it to some authentic bread made with sourdough. Fermented for about 20 hours: as many hours as kilograms of wild olive oil are needed to extract 1 litre of oil.
It couldn't be more natural because of its components.
Cheers and greetings to all the readers of the Mergaoliva BLOG.
See you soon.
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