Two years ago, we launched the OLIVPREM18 project. Our aim is to continue to improve the quality of our early harvest oils, with innovative techniques that allow us a better management of the olives during the first days of the campaign. One of them is the cooling of the olive with a cryogenic tunnel.

Early collection needs

At that time of year (October), the limitation of not being allowed to carry out night harvesting means being exposed to high ambient temperatures, so it is necessary to find solutions to help alleviate this effect. Tubular heat exchangers have long been used in the milling sector to cool the paste, but we consider that some of the damage to the aromas and minor components of the olives is already done when it has been “hot” ground. For this reason, at the beginning of the project we were looking for equipment that would allow us to cool the olive continuously before it passed through the mill. In this way we minimize the effect of the increase in temperature that the grinding itself entails, by doing it with a much colder olive. Subsequent malaxing and centrifugation processes are carried out without adding water or heating the paste.

We look for significant results between samples made using the usual techniques and those in which new technology has been applied. To do this, we are carrying out organoleptic and physicochemical analyses thus checking the influence of the techniques used in the final product. We rely on the collaboration of the tasting panel of the D.O. Montes de Toledo and the scientific and analytical support of the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology of the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

R&D&I under usual working conditions

We are carrying out the project on an industrial scale, without interfering with the normal functioning of the mill, which is a great challenge because of the complexity involved. After the first analyses, we are confident that we will be able to achieve conclusive results at the completion of the project.