Is the colour indicative of the quality of an Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
In our blog articles we talk about everything related to the quality of extra virgin olive oil and, on this occasion, we will talk about the colour of the oil.
The colour of the oil does not determine the quality of an extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a foodstuff that preserves the aroma and flavour of the olive, as well as all its nutritional values. The colour of an olive oil does not guarantee its quality, that is, it is not a requirement or a compulsory characteristic to certify an oil as extra virgin olive oil.
In fact, the tasting of extra virgin olive oil is carried out with an amber or blue glass that prevents the colour of the oil from being visible, so the official taster is not conditioned or influenced by the colour.
Only smell and taste are used to classify an oil as extra virgin, as these are the only senses that allow us to perceive both the positive attributes and the defects.
So what does the colour of extra virgin olive oil depend on?
Extra virgin olive oils can range in colour from a very intense golden to a dark green. The final colour of an extra virgin olive oil depends on several factors:
- The variety of olive.
- The time of harvesting.
- How the production process is carried out.
- Whether or not the extra virgin olive oil is filtered.
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The pigments present in the olives are what determine the colour of the oil.
When the olives are greener, they contain more chlorophyll and pheophytins, which gives rise to greener oils.
However, as the olives ripen, the presence of chlorophyll decreases and, in contrast, the carotenes and xanthophylls responsible for the yellow colour of the oil increase.
How does filtering affect the colour of the oil?
Oils that have not been filtered are more dense or cloudy. On the other hand, filtered oils have a brighter and cleaner colour, as the filtering process removes the small amounts of solid particles from the olives (impurities) and the moisture that may remain after the process. If you want to know more about filtered oil, read this article.
Other factors affecting oil colour change
The conservation of extra virgin olive oil is key to preserving its organoleptic qualities for as long as possible in perfect conditions.
Over time, the oil loses its greenish hue due to the degradation of chlorophyll. Exposure to light and high temperatures favours this change in colour from greenish to yellowish oil.
It is therefore very important to keep the oil in an opaque container, as this is the best way to protect it from light and to keep it stored in a dark, cool place. Similarly, the oil should be kept away from large heat sources.