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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.