Extra - Virgin Olive Oil
To qualify for the label "extra-virgin", an olive oil must conform to four criteria:
Previously called pure olive oil or 100 percent pure olive oil, olive oil is the most widely marketed grade of olive oil and generally costs less than extra-virgin olive oil. It is combination of extra-virgin olive oils and refined oils.
Contain only a minute proportion, if any, of extra virgin olive oils. They are pure rectified oils.
The lowest grade of an olive-based oil is pomace oil. It is a blend of virgin oil and refined pomace oil, the latter obtained by using solvents to extract the residual oil left in olive paste after making virgin oil.
How to Find Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To evaluate and rocognize a good olive oil is not easy. In addition to the parameters involved in the taste (so-called organoleptic characteristics based on Panel Test), there are some chemical parameters (acidity, peroxide number, UV light absorption), which, considered jointly, help to determine the quality of the product.
Olive Oil in California
It began in the mid-1700s, when Spanish Jesuits brought the Mediterranean fruit to Mexico. Toward the end of that century, Franciscan padres from Mexico established the California mission at San Diego de Alcala, where they probably planted the first olive cuttings or seeds. The first oil was most likely pressed at the missions around 1800.
There were a mere 500 trees in California in 1785: 5,600 in 1876: and half a million at the turn of the century. Nowadays we don't count trees, we count acres, so an exact comparison is impossible. There are, however, about 65,000 acres devoted to olive trees alone. Many of these trees are hundred-year-old Missions, Manzanillos, and Sevillanos, whole orchards that have been brought back with careful attention.
In recant years extra high density orchards have been introduced in California with 600 to 650 trees per acre. Varieties that are grown in that method are Arbequina, Arbosana and Korneiki.