Bitter or spicy olive oil: why does it occur?
It happened to everyone to taste amusing types of extra virgin olive oils
: some sweet and fruity, others perhaps bitter or spicy. The latter certainly will not have been to your liking and you will have thought of a production error or a not excellent batch of olives.
Nothing could be more wrong, and we at the Oleificio Lovascio will explain the reason. Being a product derived from the pressing of olives, extra virgin olive oil acquires the nutritional and antioxidant properties of olives. As Alessandro explained to us, the olives harvested from the plant not yet ripe are rich in natural anti-oxidants that protect the fruit and leaves from bacteria, fungi and harmful insects.
In fact, the polyphenols and tocopherols present in green olives, responsible for the emerald green color, reduce the level of cholesterol and free radicals in our body, as well as preserving the product from aging.
If the olives are harvested already ripe, black or purple, they lose a good part of the natural anti-oxidants and are therefore sweeter. This characteristic is also reflected in the oils produced from these olives, where the tingling and bitterness are almost imperceptible.
A new quality oil, therefore, must be able to be preserved without having to add any artificial preservatives for at least a year without altering or becoming harmful. In addition, the quality of the olive, the type of squeezing and the time that elapses between harvesting and squeezing also contribute to determining the bitter taste.
In the past, oil producers tended to sell a product that was immediately sweet, while today, following further scientific studies on the properties of cold-ground green olives, there is a tendency to offer a product that is certainly less sweet, but of higher quality.
Are the tingling and bitterness in extra virgin olive oil good or bad?
Both the initial tingling and bitter sensations tend to diminish over time. When the flavor of extra virgin olive oil becomes more palatable, this does not lose its unique organoleptic and nutritional properties, remaining a product of the highest quality. The maturation process of the oil is obviously inevitable and unstoppable, but this must not prevent tasting and appreciating the flavors and aromas of a genuine new oil.