The ancient Rosita method
1. Wild-caught, deep-sea fishing: We sustainably fish the wild codfish (Gadus morhua) from the pristine, sapphire blue waters of the Norwegian fjords. To ensure total control over sustainability, quality and freshness of cod livers, we employ our own small artisan fishing boats (rather than commercial fishing boats). Our boats put out sea bird-friendly long lines baited with fat slices of frozen mackerel or herrings. We catch the cod carefully to protect the population. Line-caught fish are a much better alternative to fish that have been caught by destructive trawling methods. And sustainable, fresh cod tastes so much more clean and sweet!
The liver oil from deep-sea cod was highly prized and sought after by the ancient Norse people, who considered it to be the most potent in terms of therapeutic properties. It was also known to have a smoother consistency. Our ancestors were masters of deep-sea fishing; grueling yet rewarding work.
Commercial CLO: Manufacturers of commercial cod liver oil do not specifically fish for deep-sea codfish. They will often purchase fish on the open market or from brokers, which can be problematic regarding the freshness, source, and even fish species. By using freshly-caught fish and not importing frozen products, we believe quality is optimally maintained and the properties of the raw materials will not deteriorate during long transport, freezing, etc.
2. Harvesting the livers on deck: Next, we haul the lively wild codfish into the boat and remove them from the hooks. Our fishermen then carefully sacrifice the fish, remove the livers, and wash them in pure cold water. The livers are then immediately placed under proprietary conditions to maintain freshness. We separate the meat and insides for other uses, and quickly ferry the livers to shore.
3. Inspecting the livers by hand: Upon returning to the docks, we carefully hand-inspect the fresh livers at Rosita’s zero-emission production premises. We go to great lengths to make sure the livers are carefully handled and never exposed to high temperatures, chemicals or reactive metals. This is because rough handling of the liver can cause it to bruise, promoting degradation and lowering the quality of the oil produced. Per ancient Viking tradition, we only use fresh, robust livers of a specific appearance and weight, as the quality of fish liver oil is highly dependent on the quality of the liver. That means crushed and bruised livers don’t apply. Further, if the cod livers are small and discolored (or have a dark appearance), this indicates a scarcity of food for the cod and the possibility they may not be healthy. The best codfish livers are large and beautifully plump, soft to the touch with an almost cream-colored appearance, which indicates the codfish are thriving and well-fed. Such livers contain an abundance of quality oil that appears perfectly pellucid and pale-colored with a mild, fresh fish taste.
4. Releasing the oil from the fresh cod livers: Our ancient method for cod liver oil extraction is extremely rare. And it produces the most precious cod liver oil naturally.
Here’s how it works: We create a gentle shift in temperature, from the icy cold water that the fresh livers are submerged in upon harvest, to below-room temperature. This shift naturally triggers the release of the oil.
This shift is also done in the total absence of heat, which protects the oil’s nutritional value. Just as important, we never subject the livers to chemical treatment, solvents, mechanical devices, rendering, Peter Möller’s method (steam), distillation, winterization, putrefaction, decomposition, alkali refining, bleaching, deodorization or freezing (these are dirty words to us at Rosita!). We take every precaution to preserve the therapeutic properties of cod liver oil and its natural abundance of nutrients.
This method is so rare because the only way to carry out the subtle temperature shift is to control each step from fish to bottle. Great care for the livers is taken throughout each step, so they maintain the optimal temperature that allows the fresh oil to naturally release.
To further understand how we release the oil from the fresh cod liver oils, here is some history:
The ancient Norse people observed that the appearance, size and texture of fish livers vary considerably depending on the seasons. For certain seasons, the livers were beautifully plump, with a light cream color and very soft to the touch, bursting with oil of superior quality. During other seasons, the livers were smaller, with a reddish hue, firmer to the touch, with low oil content. The ancient Norse people also knew both air and water temperature vary from season to season and believed the water temperature influenced the physical characteristics of the liver. As such, they discovered those plump, cream-colored oily livers could revert to their smaller, reddish form by releasing the oil they contain. The trigger for releasing their oil was a change in temperature which mimicked specific seasonal changes in water temperature. How did they do it? By transferring freshly removed fish livers to slightly warmer dwellings than the cold ocean in which the fish lived. The livers would then naturally and gradually release the raw, pale golden oil in their cells without any intervention. This gave rise to the basic oil extraction principle that the ancients went about perfecting and that Rosita uses today, where nature does all the work.
5. Gentle filtration: Immediately after the oil is released, it is very lightly filtered, with the help of a special patented method that uses gravity only, at low temperatures. This method simply removes particles of liver tissue, without refining the oil. In contrast, conventional procedures remove most of the healthy, fat-soluble vitamins, and therefore, commercial producers will add synthetic vitamins to make up for the loss (for more, see How to tell if your cod liver oil is unprocessed, below).
6. A drop of natural antioxidants: We add tiny amounts of the plant rosemary and natural, GMO-free vitamin E extract from sunflower seeds to maintain freshness.
7. Bottling: We then bottle the oil in amber glass to extend its shelf life and freshness by protecting it against light. The bottle is then nitrogen-flushed, to preserve freshness by removing oxygen (this ensures safe shipping in all temperatures). The result is 100% unadulterated, wild and raw Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil, which contains absolutely no synthetic nutrients.
8. Testing: Samples of each batch of Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil are third-party tested in a microbiological laboratory and certified to meet strict European regulations for potency and purity. Read the results here.