The history of the olive oil mill
The oldest records of olive oil mills date back to the Copper Age, where artisanal presses were already being used to crush olives. However, industrial mills as we know them today began to appear in the 6th century B.C., in Ancient Greece, with the adoption of more advanced milling methods.
In its beginnings, the oil mills consisted of a kind of large stone mortar where small quantities of olives were introduced to obtain oil by pressing, using levers as a mechanism.
Today, there are countless mills around the world, and technological advances have greatly automated the process, reducing the need for manual labor and improving the efficiency and quality of the final product.
Etymologically, the word “oil mill” comes from the Arabic ‘al-ma’sara’. Not only has its name evolved over the centuries, but it has also undergone significant transformations in its operation.
What is the role of an olive mill in olive oil production?
An olive oil mill is a place or facility where olive oil is produced from olives. A fundamental process in the production of this.
Fundamental parts of an olive oil mill extraction process. The process is divided into five stages:
1. Olive reception: In this phase, the freshly harvested olives arrive and their quality is verified, starting the process of eliminating impurities.
2. Cleaning and washing: The olives are thoroughly washed to remove impurities, leaves and unwanted branches.
3. Grinding area: Once cleaning is complete, the olives are crushed together with their pits, skins and pulp, creating a paste.
4. Oil extraction: The olive paste is processed to extract the oil, using presses or centrifugation, depending on the selected method.
5. Decanting and storage: Olive oil is separated from water and other residues through a decanting process. Then, depending on the type of oil produced, it is filtered to eliminate microparticles and give it a cleaner appearance. Finally, it is stored in tanks for subsequent packaging and distribution.
In conclusion, the olive oil mill is the heart of the production of this precious oil, a place where tradition meets modernity to offer a product that has been fundamental in Mediterranean culture for centuries and is still an essential ingredient in today’s cuisine. The evolution of olive oil mills reflects the constant adaptation of the oil industry.