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Productive process

The protected designation of origin “La Bella della Daunia” refers to the green and black color table olives obtained through the “Bella di Cerignola” table olive variety. The cultivation method must be the traditional method adopted in the area, closely linked to particular orographic and soil/climatic characteristics. The annual pruning system, farming methods and planting patterns are those traditionally used in the area, with a maximum number of trees of 420/Ha, also on neighboring farms. The olive harvest is carried out directly from the tree, starting on October 1st; for green olives, at the moment the coloring starts to change from leaf green to straw yellow with well defined lenticels; for black olives, when the olives are darkened or ripe with a maroon wine color. Tarps are used to prevent the olives from coming into contact with the ground. Irrigation must terminate 10-15 days prior to the harvest to prevent damage to the fruits (spots), which are turgid and delicate. Transport must be carried out using suitable means to prevent damage to the fruit. Appropriate plastic crates must be used for this purpose. The maximum allowed olive production per hectare for protection purposes must not exceed 150 quintals/Ha for specialized or mixed cultivation (in this case intended as evenly divided production). P.D.O. ‘La Bella della Daunia’ green olives undergo a process using the Sivigliano System, described as follows: after grading the olives are treated with an alkaline lye solution (sodium hydroxide), with concentrations ranging from 1.7% to 4.0% (w/v), depending on the level of ripeness of the olives, the temperature and the water quality. The treatment is carried out in containers with variable capacities; the solution must totally cover the olives and is interrupted when the lye penetrates approximately 2/3 of the pulp depth. The phase of the process lasts a minimum of eight hours to a maximum of fifteen hours. The olives must be constantly covered by water to prevent oxidation. Following the treatment with alkaline lye solution, the olives are washed with water to eliminate the sodium solution. The olives are then fermented for 30-60 days in appropriate containers, where the olives must always remain covered by the brine, which must have an initial concentration of 9% – 10% to then decrease rapidly to about 5% due to the high water content exchanged by the olives. If the period of time between the fermentation phase and the packaging phase exceeds 6 months, then it is necessary to add ground salt to stabilize the brine in a range of 8% to 10%. Following fermentation, the olives are packaged in glass or tin containers, and in other containers with a final brine solution which varies from 3% to 5% and pH < 4.6; the next step is pasteurization. P.D.O. “Bella della Cerignola” black olives undergo a process using the Californian System, which can take place in one of the two ways described as follows: Method A): the olives are graded and placed in containers with concentrated salt brine solution from 2.5% to 10% in inverse ratio according to the dimensions and protected from exposure to air while awaiting processing. Subsequently the brine is replaces with a preliminary lye solution (sodium hydroxide) at approximately 2% concentration, to then be directly aired or aired through the insertion of compressed air into the water. Repeated treatments with diluted lye solution follow each airing, facilitating penetration all the way to the olive pit; if necessary the olives are treated with food grade ferrous gluconate solution or ferrous lactate solution up to 150 mg/kg of olives (residual) to completely blacken the fruit. Subsequently, the olives are washed, steamed and packaged in glass and tin containers, or other types of containers which can be sterilized, in brine at approximately 3% with pH = approximately 4.6. Sterilization follows. Method B): the olives are graded and placed in containers with concentrated salt brine solution from 8% to 10% in inverse ratio according to the dimensions and protected from exposure to air while awaiting processing. The brine is then replaced by a lye solution (sodium hydroxide) in a range from 1.3% to 2.5% approximately, until the lye has penetrated the pulp depth by 3/3. This stage is followed by several washing and airing stages using compresses air inserted into water. If necessary the olives are treated with food grade ferrous gluconate solution or ferrous lactate solution up to 150 mg/kg of olives (residual) to completely blacken the fruit. Subsequently, the olives are washed, steamed and packaged in glass and tin containers, or other types of containers which can be sterilized; the final brine solution has variable concentrations from 2% to 5% approximately and pH > 4.6. Sterilization follows .