Most common varieties of olives in Spain

table olives

All olive trees produce olives, but each olive variety has different fat yields, size, aromas and texture. All of them can be used to make table olives and olive oil, but those with the highest fat yield are used to make olive oil and the rest to make table olives. In this article we are going to see the differents olive varieties in the World.

Olive oil and olive lovers will find in El Cortijuelo de San Benito the best variety of these products. Here you can buy olive oils from the best production areas: olive oil from Baena, Sierra Magina, Sierra de Cazorla, Priego de Córdoba and the best brands: El EmpIedro, Oro Bailen, Castillo de Canena, Oro del Desierto, Casas Hualdo and many more. You can also buy homemade olives, healthy and delicious.

The properties of olives are the same as extra virgin olive oil, but to these are added that they are rich in fibre. On the benefits of olive oil, you will find them in: Benefits of olive oil.

Varieties of table olives

The good varieties of table olives look for a low fat yield, a good texture and a good detachment of the flesh from the stone.

Next we are going to see the most extended olive varieties and used for the elaboration of table olives, although any olive can be used for this purpose. On the other hand, here we name the olives by the most common name, but all of them have numerous names that are taking in each region of Spain.

Manzanilla olives: Manzanilla olives are a type of variety of olives, and among these we have several classes; aloreña, sevillas and cacereña among the most widespread.

Manzanillas olives are the queens for their excellence. They stand out for their good texture, adequate size and good detachment of flesh and bone. Ideal for making table olives.

Gordal olive: The gordal olive stands out for its great size, it can be two or three times bigger than a good size camomile. Their culinary characteristics do not stand out, but it is their great size that makes them very demanded.

Verdial olives: Among the verdial olives, we have of two classes fundamentally, the verdial of Badajoz and the one of Huevas. Both can be used both for the elaboration of olive oil and for converting them into table olives.

Cornozuelo olive: Olive that can be used both for oil and for the production of table olives. This variety is very demanded by the people who know it, for its great texture and flavor. It has the peculiarity that they are very sensitive, reason why they are only usually available a few months to the year.

The olive of cornozuelo stands out for a small bulge that comes out and for having a use in the form of hook.

Olive varieties for olive oil

The varieties of olives for the production of extra virgin olive oil take into account their fat yield and their price on the market. With the specialisation of the sector, other varieties are being incorporated, in which their fruity flavours, balance and harmony of the oils they produce are sought.

Among the most widespread varieties in Spain are: picual, cornicabra and hojiblanca. We will see these and others below.

Picual: The picual olive is easily recognized by ending with a small beak. An olive of a good caliber that gives oils of an enormous stability and quality. This variety is the most widespread in Spain, being found mainly throughout Jaén and Andalucia.

The picual variety is a neighbouring tree. Its olive detaches very well from the tree, with a high fat yield and a great stability of its olive oil.

Cornicabra: Cornicabra is another of the most cultivated varieties in Spain. This one is fundamentally in Castilla la Mancha.

From the cornicabra olive an olive oil of great stability and quality is obtained.

Hojiblanca: The variety hojiblanca is used both for the elaboration of table olives and for the elaboration of olive oil. This is another of the most cultivated varieties in Spain, and is found mainly in the Málaga area.

Arbequina: The arbequina variety is a variety that is used mainly for the production of olive oil, but in the area of Catalonia is very common to use this variety for the production of table olives.

The arbequina variety is highly valued as olive oil for its great fruity aroma.

picual olive tree, one of the most common olive varieties in Spain

Photo 1: Olives of the Picual variety

Among others that are being introduced in the market, we can name: royal, lechín, manzanilla, picudo, cobraçosa…

Olive varieties for olive oil

The varieties of olives used in table preparation take into account their fatty yield and market price. The most widespread varieties in Spain are: picual, cornicabra and hojiblanca.

Picual: The picual olive is easily recognized by its small beak.

This variety is one of the most widespread in Spain, being found mainly throughout Jaén.

The picual variety is a neighboring tree. Its olive is very well detached from the tree, with a high fat yield and a great stability of its olive oil.

Cornicabra: Cornicabra is another of the most widely grown varieties in Spain. This is mainly found in Castilla la Mancha.

A very stable olive oil is obtained from the cornicabra olive.

Hojiblanca: The hojiblanca variety is used both for the production of table olives and for the production of olive oil. This is another of the most cultivated varieties in Spain, and is found mainly in the area of mälaga.

Arbequina: The Arbequina variety is a variety that is used mainly for the production of olive oil, but in the area of Catalonia it is very common to use this variety for the production of table olives.

The Arbequina variety is highly valued as olive oil for its great fruity aroma.

More productive olive varieties

The most widespread varieties of olive trees in Spain are the picual, cornicabra and hojiblanca for the production of extra virgin olive oil, and the manzanilla for the production of table olives, varieties that have previously been cultivated massively for pure reasons of productivity and conservation.

The fat yield productivity of the three varieties cornicabra, picual and hojiblanca are among the highest and their oils also have great stability, especially the first two. The manzanilla olive stands out for its high culinary quality for the production of table olives, its texture and good detachment of flesh and stone.

Now with specialization, climate change and increasingly demanding demand, productivity must be seen from a variety of perspectives.

Before choosing a variety, we need to look at the following factors:

  • Production of olive oil or table olives

If what we are looking for is to elaborate extra virgin olive oil, we will have to pick varieties of olive tree with an adequate fat yield. If, on the other hand, we want olives for pickles, we will take other varieties with lower fat yields and better culinary characteristics.

Varieties with high fat yields. The varieties of cornicabra and picual have high fat yields

Varieties with lower fat yields: chamomile, hojiblanca and vedial

However, all varieties can be used to produce olive oil and table olives.

  • Weather conditions 

One of the general characteristics of any olive tree is that these plants need areas with great exposure to the sun and without great humidity. Humidity and shady areas bring diseases and problems to the olive tree.

Another of the climatological factors, rainfall and frost affect olive trees enormously and each variety has a tolerance range. Varieties such as cornicabra and empeltre are better able to withstand frost. Varieties such as picual are better adapted to periods of water stress.

With the incorporation of the olive tree and the irrigation systems, it is possible to alleviate these climatic problems.

  • Olive diseases

The olive tree is commonly affected by various diseases. Shady and humid areas are often attacked more frequently by fungi such as anthracnose repiloy and by tubercolosis bacteria. Drier, sunnier areas of southern Spain will be better protected from these diseases.

Verticilium is another very common fungus that is very well cured. Nearby cotton and sunflower crops favour its expansion.

High summer and mild temperatures in the winter make the olive fruit fly and the prays work. The olive fruit fly does not affect the olive tree itself, but it does affect the fruit, which deteriorates it and from which it cannot be extracted an extra virgin olive oil.

  • The economic purpose of the product

With the specialisation of the world of olive oil and olives, varieties that could be less productive and more problematic from a commercial point of view could be more interesting. Olive oil varieties such as arbequina and royal have a higher market value when it comes to selling the product than more widespread varieties such as picual and cornicabra, which are found everywhere.

Olive varieties such as Kalamata, typical of Greece, could be of great interest, as they are highly prized olives not found in Spain.

  • Operating expenses

As far as production costs are concerned, the operating method must be used. The olive trees can be cultivated in the extensive, semi-intensive and intensive method. The extensive method are the traditional 20 x 20 m crops. Its collection has undergone a significant technification, but still requires a large workforce. Intensive or simintensive cultivation methods with olive tree crops in trellises, allow a complete mechanization and a significant reduction of the harvesting costs.

Not all olive varieties can be used for the same crop systems. The intensive varieties have to be more flexible so that the olive harvester can pass through. Another disadvantage of these is that large extensions of olive groves are needed to compensate for the high costs of complete mechanization.

Another factor that we must take into account is the ease with which the olives can be picked, so that the olives are well detached from the stalk that joins them to the plant and their fatty yield.

Cold resistant olive varieties

The olive tree is a typical fruit tree of the Mediterranean climate with little resistance to the cold. Little by little it has been taken to colder areas, and it has become acclimated to more hostile conditions.

The frost on the olive tree

Frost affects the olive tree not equally throughout the year, and each variety is not equally resistant to frost.

 

Sources:

The spezialized newspaper Olive Oil Times

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