Monday, December 2, 2013

The Oil is in the Can

We had the first frost - quite a few nights below 0°C actually - and in Provence that means go and harvest your olives. Three days and 40 kilograms of handpicked olives later we do nurse aching limbs and smother lots cream on our hands (it is totally impossible to pick olives with gloves on) but are mighty proud: our very own olive oil is now waiting in the wine cellar.

This is the old oil mill in Puymeras were we had our olives pressed the traditional way, the only difference being that nowadays a motor turns the squashing stones whereas in former times it used to be a donkey making the rounds all days long.

 The olives are squashed into a paste between huge and fast turning stones

 the paste is then evenly distributed onto straw mats

  that are then piled on top of each other
 and squeezed to extract the oil
 What beautiful color!

Our jerry can being filled!


  1. oh wow would i love some of that. such a difference between good olive oil and just the regular stuff. i had some recently that almost brought me to my knees!

  2. Oh Barbara, had it been the donkey, you might still be waiting. I can just smell that beautiful green, peppery smell and taste it on a baguette. That is the best of the best. Enjoy!!

  3. Fascinating process as I have never seen it done before. You are so lucky to have your own oil as apparently, in the US, organic olive oil (and non-organic) is not to be trusted (even the very expensive ones). Chefs are now using grape seed oil as it can take a higher heat index and is purer, so I heard on TV.

  4. This is just fascinating. I had no idea how olive oil was made. Thanks so much for sharing this. How fun to have your own olives, i'm sure the oil is amazing!

  5. Barbara, how very cool! I am very happy for you, actually jealous more than a little because I would love to have my own olive oil too. Enjoy! I hope you are both well.

  6. This is a wonderful post. I wondered how an individual managed to make their own. It is great to have a place to take it.

  7. That is a beautiful thing, loved this post!

  8. What a super post! I'd love to be there to see that in person. I'd be standing there with a loaf of French bread in my hands.