What is the difference between early and late harvest extra virgin olive oils? | Marqt.no

What is the difference between early and late harvest extra virgin olive oils?

June 07, 20202 comments

Reading time: 1 min

In the Mediterranean region, olives can be harvested from October to as late as February. In this article, we will explain what the difference between early and late harvest is.

If olives are harvested early (October through mid-November), they generally yield less olive oil than late harvest.

Olive harvesting time will influence organoleptic characteristics, shelf life, polyphenol levels and colour of olive oil.

Early harvest olive oils

Unripe olives are picked right from the trees to make early harvest olive oils. The chlorophyll content is high, so the early harvest olive oils are often quite green. Early harvest olive oils are definitely worth the money as they have higher levels of antioxidants and have extra-low acidity. Healthier the olive oil, better!

Late harvest olive oils

When the olive matures, the skin turns purple to black, and some olive producers then pick up olives. Waiting for more extended time means that olive will give more olive oil.

Late harvest olive oils tend to be more golden in colour as the chlorophyll content declines. At this stage, the polyphenol levels in olive oil decline. Compared to early harvest these olive oils are less bitter, more floral, less pungent, and have a shorter shelf life.

Black olives

Comments (2)

MARQT.NO on June 14, 2021

Hi Marianne,

I’m sorry for the late response. I missed seeing this comment. Premium olive oils will often have the date of harvest stated on the bottle. In the case of northern hemisphere olive oils, the early harvest is from October to mid-December. When buying olive oils, always check the date on it; if there is no harvest date, check for the best before date. The fresher the oil, the better. Extra virgin olive oil should be purchased within 12 to 18 months of its harvest date and should be ideally used within a month of opening the bottle to get all the goodness.

My tip is to find a local distributor you trust, research, and always read labels.

Best regards,

Katarina from marqt.no :)

Marianne on January 12, 2021

How can you tell if the olive oil is from early harvest? From consumer’s perspective what to look for why buying a bottle of olive oil?

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