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Picking the table olives
Our De Prado olives are only picked directly from the tree and will never have direct contact with the soil. The picking of the table olives is really delicate and it is very important not to damage the fruit. Our brother Rafael also makes a close monitoring of the table olives – to ensure their harvest at the optimum moment.
Delivery of the olives at the Olive Preserve Plant
The olives are delivered at the mill by small capacity tractors to avoid its deterioration and then separated by variety. These tractors have been previously cleaned with water at high pressure and temperature to avoid olive contamination. During every day of the harvest there is a continuous transfer of olives from the field to the olive preserve plant. Our plant is located in the estate itself and in less than 1 hour the olive goes from the tree to the mill reception yard. This time factor between the picking and the start of the production process is one of the critical moments in defining the table olive quality.
Leaf removal
With blowers the leaves and stems of the olives are separated so that the olives are clean when they enter the mill.
Olive selection by colour
Our table olive plant has the most advanced technology, which allows us to take the right decisions immediately.
The olives must be green, and thanks to modern photoelectric cells 120 photos per second are taken, which allow us to select the colour and detect which fruits suit our demands.
Selection by size
The "perdigonera" eliminates the olives whose size is not adequate for their commercialization as table olives; furthermore, it separates the olives in three sizes – small, medium and big.
Cooking
The olives are cooked in a caustic soda solution (diluted solution of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye) to hydrolyse oleuropein, which is the protein that gives olives their characteristic bitter taste.
The cooking process takes about 8 hours and is finished when the lye has penetrated the flesh of the olive and has reached 2/3 of the distance from the skin to the stone.
The role of the cooking master is now fundamental because it's him who decides when to open the mouth of the cooking vat, with a capacity for 10 tons of olives, to empty the caustic soda.
After the 7th hour of cooking he slices olive samples to check on the penetration of the lye in the 24 vats we have in the plant. If the penetration is insufficient the olives will be bitter, will not ferment well, dark spots might appear on the skin of the fruits and they will be hard to pit.
If the penetration has gone too far this will result in problems with long term preserve, the texture will be deficient and pitting will be difficult.
Our cooking master has inherited his role from his father, who in turn inherited it from his, and so on for 4 long generations.

Do you wish to know our cooking master?
Washing
After emptying the soda from the vat the olives are covered with water for 12 to 15 hours. Washing should not be excessive in order to avoid losing the hydrosoluble compounds that are necessary for the fermentation.
Fermentation
The olives are put in a brine of 10 to 11 degrees Baumé and put in the fermenters, which are containers buried in open air.
The olives undergo a natural, slow lactic fermentation, where the lactobacillus plantarum produces lactic acid.
During the 2 or 3 months that the lactic fermentation takes continuous control analysis are performed because different stages take place and the salt concentration requirements are different in each.
After fermentation it is time for the olive conservation process, and we increase the salt concentration again because salt values must remain constant.
Selecting the olives
Again the photoelectric cells and the "perdigonera" select the best table olives and classify them according to the size standards commercially established (also known as calibre)
The stemmer
With this machine we eliminate the stem of the olives that might have kept it.
Manual selection
Experienced, fast hands finally separate any olives that may have sustained any damage to the skin during these months of hard work and responsibility for all.
De Prado en el campo - Expertos
Rafael de Prado
Estate Manager
Responsible for the olive groves estates.
The De Prado table olives are the selection of our finest fruits and for the following 6 months continuous screens will be made to obtain the most beautiful olives to the sight and touch, the most pleasant to the nose and mouth – always obeying the regulations for the production of organic foods.
What is a table olive plant?
Botanically the olive is the only stone fruit that cannot be consumed directly for its intense bitterness, not even when it is fully ripe.
This is why it must be submitted to a dressing, sometimes called "entamado" in Spanish, which allows for its conservation and direct consumption.
That is why the table olive plant is also called an "entamadora".
What De Prado olive is optimal for our table olives?
  • The one that is picked at its optimum ripeness stage, between the end of September and mid October.
  • The olive varieties Manzanilla and Hojiblanca, which are the most desired by our customers for their tasty and tender flesh.
  • The ones that are green.
  • The ones that are handpicked from the tree.
  • The ones that are completely healthy and present no damage to their skin.
  • The ones that received no chemical treatment in the field.
  • The ones that are 240 calibre – in a kilogram of olives there are 240 fruits.
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