Olive oil is a natural juice, which preserves the aroma, taste, vitamins, and properties of the olive. It is made by crushing and pressing the olive, and can be consumed in its natural state, freshly pressed from the fruit. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from only the first pressing of the olives, it is not exposed to high temperatures, chemical treatments, or refined in any way, with the most delicate flavor and most pronounced overall health benefits.
Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh squeezed fruit juice in that it contains the most flavor and nutrients. Extra virgin olive oil decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Old, poorly made and improperly stored extra virgin olive oil yields fewer if any health benefits and undesirable flavor. The appellation or country of origin of a particular extra virgin olive oil does not speak to when it was crushed, how it was crushed, its flavor characteristics, unique chemistry and what health benefits might be associated. Becoming intimately familiar with a particular extra virgin olive oil’s flavor characteristics and chemistry, i.e. antioxidant content, Oleic Acid, FFA, and crush date will help you make an educated decision about which olive oil is right for you.
Oleic Acid: is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil. Olive oil is generally higher in oleic acid than other vegetable fats. The range found in extra virgin olive oil is between 55-83%. Our olive oils all exceed 70% Oleic Acid. Extra Virgin Olive Oil high in Oleic Acid has greater resistance to oxidation (which decreases its health benefits and flavor).
FFA (Free Fatty Acids): Based on IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) Standards, the maximum limit for free fatty acid in extra virgin olive oil is 0.8g per 100g or .8%. A low FFA is desirable. Our standard is not to purchase any olive oil with an FFA level above .3%. Free fatty acid speaks to the condition of the fruit at the time of crush. The higher the FFA the greater the indication of poor quality fruit such as damaged, overripe, insect infestation, overheating during production or too much of a delay between harvest and crush.
Peroxide Value: Based on IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) Standards, the maximum peroxide value for extra virgin olive oil is 20. A very low peroxide value is desirable. Our average peroxide value of 6.1 is much lower than the IOOC Standard. Unsaturated free fatty acids react with oxygen and form peroxides, which create a series of chain reactions that generate volatile substances responsible for a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light and oxygen exposure.
Polyphenol Count: Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Polyphenols (such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, and Hydroxytyrosol) impart the intensity connected with pepper, bitterness and other desirable flavor characteristics in extra virgin olive oil. The standard range for polyphenols is anywhere from 80-220ppm. Anything above 220 is considered high. Our olive oils contain polyphenol levels ranging from 130-995 ppm! Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming fresh high quality extra virgin olive oil. Phenols decrease over time or when exposed to heat, oxygen and light. Consuming fresh, well made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain the maximum health benefit commonly associated with consuming extra virgin olive oil.