Harvesting and production
The Helgeland Fjords: Optimal climate & environment for premium grade oils
The ratfish are exclusively harvested from the wild environment, by local artisanal fishermen, who are also friends, from the deep, crystal clear, and unpolluted waters of the spectacular Norwegian Helgeland Fjords. The Fjords are framed by the rugged peaks of stunning mountain ranges, including “The Seven Sisters,” which are bathed in the light of the midnight sun, or set against the flickering Northern Lights which dance across the sky. On quite days, these mountains reflect in the mirror like waters of the fjord. The special natural environmental conditions of this beautiful and unspoilt area come together in harmony, and contribute to the production of our very high quality and truly unique oil.
The fishermen, who are locals within our community, are hand-picked for the harvesting of the ratfish. Maintaining the natural quality of fresh-caught ratfish depends on the fishing method used and careful post-harvest handling, both of which are conducive to producing the highest quality oil. As such, our fishermen are given strict guidelines for the handling of the ratfish, which include protecting them from exposure to temperatures greater than refrigeration temperature by icing the fish immediately upon harvest. These practices, rare in commercial fisheries, ensure that we receive the fish as fresh as the moment the fishermen pulled them from the crystal clear waters. No commercial fishing boats are used for harvesting our ratfish. Instead, small open boats are used to harvest the fish.
Handmade from the purest and finest-quality livers
Once harvesting is complete, the fish are quickly ferried to shore. They are then carefully inspected, and only fish of a certain age and size are used. The livers from larger size fish, that is fish beyond a certain weight, are never used to produce our oil.
To produce the highest quality first-rate oil, the livers from healthy fish should be removed as soon as possible after the fish are caught, and should be rendered very promptly. We carefully remove and inspect the ratfish livers by hand, and only the best quality livers are selected for extracting the oil. The liver of the ratfish, when healthy and fat, is cream-coloured, and so soft that a finger may be pushed through it. Leaner livers deepen in colour to a reddish or nearly black hue – these are never used to produce our oil.
We make sure the livers are very carefully handled and never exposed to high temperatures or chemicals. Rough handling of the liver can cause it to bruise, promoting degradation of the liver and lowering the quality of the oil produced. Only the undamaged, fresh livers are suitable for the finest liver oil. Strict control of the temperature before and during the ratfish liver oil extraction process is also central to the quality of the final product.
Extraction based on age-old principles
The livers finally selected are carefully cleansed from blood, membrane and other impurities by washing in pure cold water. After this the gall-bladder is removed. The wild harvested livers then undergo our proprietary, unique and completely natural extraction process. This natural process occurs as soon as possible after harvesting, to avoid any chemical changes from taking place, in a clean and odour free environment. Extremely low temperatures are maintained throughout the extraction of the oil. Heat is excluded during oil extraction. Temperatures are NEVER allowed to exceed normal body temperature. Many companies use heat to maximize the quantity of oil extracted from the livers but at the high cost of accelerated oxidation and damage to heat-sensitive nutrients. Such procedures may result in quantitative improvements but not qualitative. No mechanical devices are ever used during the extraction process, only the beautiful ancient principles given to us by nature herself.
Immediately after extraction, our oil is very lightly filtered, with the help of gravity only, at room temperature (20-25°C). This simply removes particles of liver tissue, without refining the oil in any way. In contrast, conventional procedures, such as steam deodorization and active carbon filtration, remove many of the healthy fat soluble compounds, and therefore affect the nutritional quality of the oils.
Storage at ROSITA
Our oil is then promptly stored in airtight sealed dark glass containers, to protect it from the oxidising action of the air, at an ideal temperature of 6°C and light controlled environment. In general, protection against light, heat and oxygen are the most important factors to consider for raw extra-virgin oil, and all three must therefore be minimized during extraction and until, and after, bottling. Norway's Donna island, where we are based, is an ideal place to store ratfish liver oil, because we do not have to worry about heat most of the year. Oils from our region have the advantages of low temperatures – during the majority of the fishing season the temperature is close to freezing point!
To ensure optimal freshness and quality, the oil is bottled just before delivery to our customers. Our oil is bottled in blue glass to extend its shelf life and freshness by protecting it against light deterioration.
The end result is very high quality 100% unadulterated and handcrafted wild ratfish liver oil, which contains no additives or synthetic nutrients. We believe it is the most authentic product available.