Table olive from the Hojiblanca variety of olive tree. The name Hojiblanca ("white leaf") is due to the color of the underside of the olive leaves, which gives the tree a pale silvery appearance. It is also known as Casta de Cabra, Casta de Lucena and Lucentino. It is native to Andalusia where it grows over broad swathes of the territory.
Olives of the Hojiblanca variety can be used both as an eating olive (mainly black), and for olive oil extraction. They have a low oil yield with an average of between 17-19%, but the oil is highly prized for its quality, although it has low stability. In fact, this olive is used in various types of oil with a Protected Designation of Origin.
From the organoleptic aspect there is a predominance of plant flavors: fruity aroma of fresh grass, slight bitterness with a hint of unripe fruit and other fruits, slightly spicy on the throat and with a lingering aftertaste of almonds.
The flavor of this olive is balanced between sharp and salty, without any marked bitterness or aftertaste. It has no abnormal flavors (alterations or unusual tastes). It has a hard skin, clearly differentiated from the flesh, which is fibrous (woody pulp) with a firm texture (requiring strength to chew the olives).
Ovoid shape (the length/width ratio is between 1.25-1.45), rounded apex, truncated base, no nipple and with numerous small lenticels (structures which ensure the entrance of oxygen, the exchange of gases between the internal tissues and the exterior).
Production / Processing method
In general, the olives are harvested when they reach the requisite size (September and October), always using a net to prevent any stones and soil from mixing with the fruit (this is to avoid damaging the fruit, as this would affect the quality of the end product).
The process for transforming this product into an eating olive differs according to whether the end product is a green or black olive.
- Green: The olives are harvested before the ripe stage, and after transport to the processing plant they are given a preliminarily treatment in order to eliminate the bitter taste and to prepare them for subsequent lactic fermentation. This also serves to develop the organoleptic qualities of the fruit (physical characteristics of the product: flavor, color, texture and smell). They are then immersed in brine for a period of between two and four months, depending on the type, variety and future presentation of the olive. This is the fermentation phase of the olive, after which it is ready to be enjoyed by the end consumer. The olives are preserved by means of pasteurization.
- Black: The olives are harvested when they are already ripe, and on reaching the factory they are directly preserved in brine. After sorting, they undergo a treatment which gives them their characteristic color. They are then packaged and conserved by means of heat sterilization.
Geography / Relief and climate
The Autonomous Region of Andalusia has an area of 87,598 km2, and is located in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering on Portugal to the west, the Mediterranean Sea and the Region of Murcia to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and the Autonomous Regions of Extremadura (province of Badajoz), Castile-La Mancha (provinces of Ciudad Real and Albacete) and Murcia to the north. It comprises the provinces of Almería (8,775 km2), Cádiz (7,436 km2), Córdoba (13,771 km2), Granada (12,647 km2), Huelva (10,128 km2), Jaén (13,496 km2), Málaga (7,308 km2) and Seville (14,036 km2).
In Andalusia there are three different areas: the Guadalquivir valley, the Sierra Morena, and the Cordillera Bética mountain ranges. The highest peaks in the region are: Mulhacén (3,482 m, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada), Chullo (2,609 m, in the Sierra Nevada in Almería) and Mágina (2,167 m, in the Sierra Mágina in Jaén).
In general terms, these olive trees can withstand temperatures as low as -7ºC –they are frost resistant provided the frosts are not prolonged– but no less than -12ºC, and are able to resist exceptional droughts and strong winds. The average annual temperature required by the olive tree is between 16ºC and 22ºC. These are trees which can tolerate intense dry heat in summer; in fact their fruits only ripen after the warmest months, and they are harvested in the fall and even in winter. They grow at altitudes of between 400 and 600 m above sea level, and on sheltered south-facing terraces. There are exceptions, as in the Sierra Nevada mountains these trees can be found at 974 m, although as a general rule they prefer temperate regions near the sea.
It has a hard skin which is fibrous with a firm texture.