Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Moulin de la Brague: Making Olive Oil

Now here's the inside of the olive mill which I had hoped would be more romantic looking but that's progress for you. The mill is now semi automated and though each piece of machinery was carefully labelled visitors weren't allowed in to read them so all I can tell you is that the olives are fed in somewhere out of the picture on the left and move round the machinery till the oil comes out somewhere on the right. I can tell you though that it was sparkling clean, extremely noisy and smelt strongly of crushed olives.
Being a resourceful type I've copied and pasted this account of the actual process from an excellent website which advises on setting up your own olive farm. Here's the link if you're interested in taking it up..
  1. The Mill grinds or hammers the olives and pits into paste which is extruded onto the plates which go onto the press. Don't let heat build up during the milling or pressing or the flavor will be affected.
  2. Malaxation is a slow mixing of the paste which allows the oil - water emulsion to coalesce. Small microscopic oil droplets join together into large drops which will come out during centrifugation or separation.
  3. The Press is usually centrifugal in larger machines. The press separates out the olive juice and oil and leaves behind a fibrous "pomace". Toss the pomace or sell it to someone who wants to chemically remove more of the oil for industrial uses such as soapmaking. From each ton of fruit anywhere from 12 to 50 gallons of oil can be produced.
  4. Separate the oil from the water using a decanter or centrifugal separator.
  5. Bottle the oil, keeping it away from heat and light. .
  6. Invite your friends to taste your oil.
  7. Sell some of your oil at the local farmer's market or grocery store to pay for the land, trees, consulting, mill, etc.
  8. The public finds you, clamoring for more -
  9. Let us know when you're in business so we can put you on the internet.
  10. See; now wasn't that easy?
And here's the account in French:
La fabrication de l'huile s'effectue de la mi-novembre à la fin mars au fur et à mesure de la récolte. Le principe de fabrication étant le suivant: - Lavage des olives; - Broyage des olives par meules en pierre ou par broyeur mécanique; - Malaxage de la pâte obtenue; - Pressage ou centrifugation de la pâte pour obtenir le jus de l'olive, ce jus étant composé d'huile et d'eau végétale; - Centrifugation du jus pour séparer l'huile de l'eau végétale; l'huile ainsi obtenue aura l'appellation d'huile d'olive vierge première pression. My thanks to Frederic for that..

Tomorrow we'll have a look at the oil..


tut-tut said...

I'd love to set up my own olive farm, along with a millionaire to fund it!

JM said...

That's very interesting! I've never been in one, except the old press, now an art gallery, I've posted on my blog.

babooshka said...

That was a wonderful lesson. Never seen inside one of these before. How lovely to taste freshly pressed oil on well anything from a french diet.

Catherine said...

You know Angela, I was reading the small characters of english version, to suddenly realise you translated it underneath!

I wonder if it is really profitable for a small expanse? The costs of care must be high! Better buy a bottle at the supermarket.

I'm reassured now I know that you teach english, Angela. You understand perfectly when I make a mistake. I avoid translators because I realised they often commit mistranslations, so I choose myself words but I'm not always sure.

angela said...

Catherine: I have to assume that the business is profitable in one way or another as it's run by a very dynamic family. The shop which is open all year round is usually busy and the oil is exported everywhere..

Your English is amazing, you make few mistakes and make me feel very embarrassed that my written French is nowhere near as good.