The olives have two purposes; to elaborate table olives and for the production of olive oil. Depending on the variety of the olive, some are more indicated for the elaboration of oil, others for olives of tables and others so much for oil as for olives of table.
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The olive in Spain usually takes an adequate size from September. From September onwards, the olive makes a little more oil until it begins to ripen, when it changes colour and the green begins to turn purple, a process known as envero. Veraison takes place at the end of November and beginning of December, this would be the moment when the olive has the greatest amount of oil. As soon as there is the olive becomes blacker, and if it gets fatter, it is only filled with water. In this state of the olive, this one can fall to the ground, where it would deteriorate and would be attacked by fungi and bacteria.
All these states can vary a little depending on the hydrological year and if the olive trees are irrigated or dry.
Collection at the beginning of the campaign
With the new tendencies to look for extra virgin olive oils of greater quality, the collection of the olive for the manufacture of the olive oil has been advancing, and many cooperatives and mills begin the new harvest from September. Harvesting the olive in September means that all the olives are picked up on the fly, that is to say, from the tree and none from the ground, obtaining more fruity and quality olive oils. The floral aromas are more marked when the olives are still green and do not mix with the olives that fall to the ground, the latter deteriorate and lower the quality of the oil.
The extra virgin olive oils from this moment of harvesting are often referred to as early and have fruity flavors of greener fruits.
Collection in the veraison
The collection in the veraison is the moment that the olive has greater yield. If taken from the flight, the oils are also of enormous quality. These oils have a milder taste of ripe fruit.
Final harvest of the season
At the end of the season, from the end of December until February, many of the olives are already in contact with the soil, especially when we get into the new year, giving more normal extra virgin olive oils. As the season progresses, the oils that are achieved are only virgin olive oils until they produce lampante virgin olive oils.
These olive oils have few fruity aromas and are more economical.
Photo 1: Olives at the end of the campaign
When is the olive harvested for dressing?
The best time to collect the table olives for dressing is in September and October. However, there are countless recipes for each moment of maturation of the olive. When they are picked at the beginning of the campaign, the olive is green and smooth. At the end of the campaign, the olive becomes softer.
Most of the olives sold are harvested at the beginning of the season. An example of olives harvested at the end of the season would be olives from Southern Aragon.
Photo 2. Shoot of an olive tree
How to pick olives by hand?
The hand-harvesting of olives is in disuse. Only people who have an olive tree in their house, and want to prepare them for seasoning at home, are picked by hand. A hand-harvesting of the olives would greatly raise the production costs.
The olives are harvested with different machinery. As there is no ideal, there are many ways to collect them: with vibrators, tractor umbrellas, manual vibration, wandering, and modern combs.