Olive Oil Chemistry
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh squeezed fruit juice – it has the most flavor and nutrients nearest the time of harvest and crush. Old, poorly made and improperly stored extra virgin olive oil yields fewer if any health benefits and undesirable flavor. 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. At Trio Carmel, we show you the chemistry on each of the fustis for our Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils. We want you to know that you are getting the best, tastiest olive oil!
Polyphenols (Healthy Antioxidants)
Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Recent studies indicate that potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Studies indicate that the phenols can assist in lowering heart disease risk factors as well as helping to reduce the risks of getting cancer by reducing inflammation and cell proliferation. From a taste point of view, when polyphenols are high, you will experience a more peppery, bitter taste. Phenols in olive oil decrease over time or when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. To obtain the maximum health benefits associated with consuming olive oil, we recommend that you consume fresh, well-made olive oil with high polyphenol content.
Oleic Acid (a healthy Monounsaturated Omega-9 Fatty Acid)
You also want this number to be higher (The Fatty Acid Profile must be at least 55% to be considered Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Our average oleic acid content is approximately 77%. Oleic acid protects your cell membranes, proteins and DNA from being damaged. Replacing saturated fatty acids in animal fats with oleic acid helps improve cholesterol balance.
Free fatty acid speaks to the condition of the fruit at the time of crush. The higher the FFA, the more likely the fruit was of poor quality (damaged, overripe, insect infestation, overheating during production, or long delay between harvest and crush). Because of this, you want your extra virgin olive oil to have a low FFA number. The IOC requires the FFA to be below 0.8 to be considered Extra Virgin grade of olive oil. Our average is approximately 0.18. Also, the lower the FFA, the higher the smoke point of that oil. This means you can cook with it at higher temperatures up to 350 degrees.
Peroxide Value (PV)
Base on IOOC Standards, the maximum peroxide value for extra virgin olive oil is 20. A very low peroxide value is desirable. Unsaturated free fatty acids react with oxygen and form peroxides, which create a series of chain reactions that generate volatile substances responsible fro a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light and oxygen exposure.
This score was developed to measure the degradation of chlorophyll in olive oil. This degradation of chlorophylls to pyropheophytin was found to take place at a predictable pace, making it possible to gain information about the age of an olive oil. The rate at which the degradation occurs can be accelerated by even short periods of high temperatures such as that which is utilized during the deodorizing or soft column refining process making it a useful indicator of the presence of deodorized olive oil as well as the age of the oil.
This is a new measurement of overall quality, condition of fruit & processing. The higher the better! Most high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil companies are beginning to use this as an overall quality score. All of our EVOOs have a score of 90 or higher at the time of harvest.