Influence of the nocturnal harvesting of olives from Salento (Italy) on the quality of the extra virgin olive oil
Keywords:Extra virgin olive oil, Nocturnal harvesting, Quality, Volatile substances
In southern Italy, some olive cultivars such as ‘Ogliarola Salentina’ ripen when the day temperature is still high, at up to 28 to 30 °C. This can affect both the oil quality and the expression of its valuable characteristics. In addition, it increases the risk of undesirable fermentation that can generate off-flavors. In the present study, nocturnal olive harvesting was carried out to determine the influence that temperature can have on the characteristics of the extra virgin olive oil, and particularly on the volatile and oxidative compounds. The data obtained are encouraging: the lower temperatures that occur during the night appear to have a particular and positive impact on the organoleptic characteristics of the extra virgin olive oil produced, with enhanced formation of the volatile compounds that contribute to the ‘green’ notes of the flavor. In areas where daytime temperatures are very high, the nocturnal harvesting of olives at the correct stage of maturity therefore represents a good agronomic practice for the production of oils with high organoleptic and nutritional merit.
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