Early Harvest Olive Oil – What is Early Harvest Olive Oil?
What is Early Harvest Olive Oil?
Early harvest olive oil, also known as early pressed or early harvest extra virgin olive oil, refers to olive oil that is produced from olives that are harvested earlier in the growing season. The timing of the harvest can significantly affect the flavor, aroma, chemical composition and organoleptic characteristics and as well as the life cycle (self life) of the resulting olive oil.
Olive trees typically produce olives in the late fall, and the harvesting season can extend from October to February in the Northern Hemisphere. Early harvest olive oil is made from olives that are picked at the beginning of this season, often when the olives are still green and not fully ripened. The olives are usually harvested before they reach their full maturity.
The main characteristics of Early Harvest Olive oil include:
Flavor Profile: Early harvest olive oil tends to have a more robust and intense flavor compared to oils made from fully ripened olives. It may exhibit a peppery or bitter taste, and it can have a distinct grassy or herbaceous aroma.
Color: Early harvest olive oil is often greener in color due to the higher concentration of chlorophyll present in unripe olives.
Health Benefits: Studies suggest that early harvest olive oil have higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, which are beneficial compounds that contribute to the oil’s potential health benefits. Early Harvest Olive Oil (Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, especially the Organic Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is even healthier than any other type of olive oils.
Acidity: Early harvest olive oil generally has a lower acidity level, which is a desirable quality for extra virgin olive oil.
It’s important to note that the characteristics of early harvest olive oil can vary depending on factors such as the olive varieties, the region where the olives are grown, and the specific production methods used by the olive oil producer. Some people prefer the bold and robust flavors of early harvest olive oil, while others may prefer the milder taste of oils made from fully ripened olives.
Early Harvest Olive Oil is a great gift of nature. Its known for its high nutritional properties since the ancient times. The ancient Greeks called it Omfakion, while today Agourelaio olive oil as Greeks call it (Olio Novello for the Italians) is a first quality premium extra virgin olive oil, freshly cold-pressed from unripe olives.
Not many years ago, the term “early harvest olive oil” almost did not exist, but recently, little by little, olive oil producers and cooperatives, are joining more and more the production of early harvest olive oils – reserving part of their olives harvests to be used to produce this type of oils. Early Harvest Olive Oil is highly appreciated internationally and an increasing number consumers prefer more and more this type of olive oil. We are seeing a constant growth in the production of early harvest olive oils in recent years.
What is the difference between Early Harvest Olive Oil and Late Harvest Olive Oil?
The difference between early harvest olive oil and late harvest olive oil.
If olives are harvested early (October through mid-November), they generally yield less olive oil than late harvest.
Early harvest olive oils
Early harvest olive oils are made with unripe olives. The chlorophyll content is high, so the early harvest olive oils are often quite green. Early harvest olive oils are definitely worth as they have higher antioxidants and polyphenols and extra-low acidity. Its the healthier olive oil, (even healthier than other olive oils)!
Late harvest olive oils
The late olive harvest happens when the olives mature, the skin of the olives turns purple to black. Waiting for more time means that olive will give more olive oil. Late harvest olive oils tend to be more golden in colour as the chlorophyll content declines. At this stage, the polyphenol levels in olive oil drop too. As a result, late harvest olive oils are less bitter, more floral, less pungent, and have a shorter shelf life than early harvest olive oils.
What are the health benefits of Early Harvest Olive Oil consumption?
According to the study “Direct Measurement of Oleocanthal and Oleacein Levels in Olive Oil by Quantitative 1H NMR. Establishment of a New Index for the Characterization of Extra Virgin Olive Oils” conducted in 2012, there is a positive correlation of a high level of oleocanthal and oleacein in olive oils with the early time of harvest.
Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory effect similar to Ibuprofen and Oleacein is a powerful antioxidant. Oleacein is a derivative of oleuropein and the most powerful antioxidant constituent of olive oil. Oleocanthal is said to have potential to inhibit tumor growth, and to offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease among other benefits. It is responsible for the pungency that comes from unripe olives in fresh olive oil and that irritates the throat. Chronic exposure to low doses of anti-inflammatory agents like oleocanthal offers protection against cardiovascular diseases and aging.
Furthermore, when olives are picked early in the season, they tend to produce a green-colorer oil as they have higher levels of chlorophyll. Since Agoureleo enjoys a high polyphenol as well as a higher chlorophyll content, it appeals to demanding foreign markets for both pharmaceutical use as well as an ingredient to gourmet restaurants all around the world.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (GAADRD) announced on Monday the results from a groundbreaking new study on the benefits of early-harvest olive oil.
Their research, undertaken for the first time ever on the specific benefits of the oil made from early-harvested olives, or HP-EH-EVOO, suggests that patients indeed improved from following a diet rich in this oil — even more than from following a traditional Mediterranean diet, which already uses the widely-available extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO.
The recent randomized clinical trials of Greece’s phenolic early harvest extra virgin olive oil studied the benefits which can be gained in those already suffering from mild cognitive impairment, or MCI.
Most plant-based foods contain polyphenols, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It’s easy to get enough in your diet to boost your health, but some sources are more nutritious than others.
Olives are rich in vitamin E, fatty acids, and polyphenols
Inspiration from ancient medics, Ancient Greek doctor Dioscorides piqued the researchers’ interest. “He, and others after him, insisted that the best health effects come from fresh olive oil from unripe olives (ealry harvest), or from specific varieties.”
How good a specific extra virgin olive oil is for your health could be easier to assess with a new Greek system to measure and rate the content of key olive compounds Oleocanthal and Oleacein.
Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory effect similar to Ibuprofen and Oleacein is a powerful antioxidant, but until now they have been difficult to analyze chemically, according to Dr. Prokopios Magiatis, assistant professor of pharmacognosy and natural products chemistry at the University of Athens.
At the recent Terra Creta Olive Oil Conference on Crete, Dr Magiatis said he and his team from the university had developed a method using 1H-NMR, a form of nuclear magnetic resonance, to directly measure oleocanthal and oleacein levels.
“The new method makes it possible to identify differences between extra virgin olive oils and to classify them according to their potential health effects” he said.
CHECK our article: Health Benefits of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL