Extra Virgin Olive Oils are the heart of our business—they certainly are not all created equal! Our suppliers and farmers are phenomenal and therefore ours are as close to a farm to table experience as possible and includes both the Northern and Southern hemisphere harvests! Give us a call if you have specific questions not answered here. Below are few terms that we describe the under each of our single varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil chemistry is key in determining quality – the chemistry should be measured at the time of the crush / extraction – the following measures are key:
Antioxidant substances that we measure in Extra Virgin Olive Oils. The higher the better! Polyphenols extend the shelf-life of an oil & also determine the “style” in terms of bitterness and pungency. Generally, when an oil has a high polyphenol count (presented in parts per million), it will have more “pepper” or more “bitterness”. Many consider polyphenols to be free-radical “scavengers”.
In order for an oil to be called extra virgin olive oil, the Fatty Acid Profile must be comprised of at least 55% Oleic Acid. The higher the oleic acid, the better. Our average oleic acid content is around 77%! Because your body will absorb any peroxidized fats that you consume and incorporate them into your cells, oleic acid’s superior resistance to free radical attacks also protects your cell membranes, proteins, and DNA from being damaged, even as it protects the oil from spoiling. Also, substituting oleic acid for saturated fatty acids in animal fats improves cholesterol balance. This is why monounsaturated fats are often regarded as “the good fats”.
Free Fatty Acid – The lower, the better. The IOC (International Oil Council) requires that this number be below 0.8 in order for an olive oil to be considered Extra Virgin grade. Our average is about 0.18! Also, the lower the FFA, the higher the smoke point of that particular oil. **(This number gives indication of the olive condition at time of crush –Fruit processed immediately should produce oil with low FFA)**
This number must be equal to or less than 20. This is the primary measurement of the rancidity of a particular extra virgin olive oil. Peroxide value is affected by procedures used in processing, and storing of the oil. Peroxide is responsible for color and aroma changes as the oil oxidizes. Our average PV at time of crush is around 3.2!
To keep this simple, I’ll first say – if anything is added to an ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ – the highest quality classification of olive oils – you no longer refer to them as ‘Extra Virgin’. With this said, our infused olive oils are made from an extra virgin olive oil of a mild sensory profile. The specific extra virgin olive oil is then ‘infused’ with organic essential oils in proprietary ratio’s and combinations that result in an exquisite culinary infused olive oil – we’re very proud of them! A ‘fused’ olive oil has a little different extraction process – we start with early harvest olives, as if we are embarking on a single varietal extra virgin olive oil extraction, but the stated fruit or herb in its whole form is combined with the olives and everything is extracted together! Therefore, looking at the first sentence above – this wonderful creation is never referred to as ‘extra virgin’ because it starts off with a whole fruit or herb agromento! The end result is beautiful – with nothing else ever added, no other oils or heat or distortions. Nature pure and simple. They’re wonderful!
YES – absolutely! We love this question, it is sometimes easier to think (and research) the areas of the world where olive oil is most prevalent. Ahhh, the Mediterranean! Check it out… they cook with it all the time, in abundance. I believe the mystification has crept in partially due to marketing here is the United States and the often ‘store bottled’ versions that do not list the chemical profiles. A high quality fresh unadulterated Extra Virgin Olive Oil in itself, by natural design, protects itself from free radical damage. This is why the chemical profile at the time of crush is SO important. Here is a link to the NCIB – the National Center for Biotechnology Information for those of you, like myself, are hard core researchers into “why.” NOTE: the oils used in this study are VOO = virgin olive oils, not the highest quality that we provide which are EVOO – extra virgin olive oil.
More on these things in my posts. But I will give this little suggestion when cooking – always allow your ‘pan’ to be heated and when it is at the appropriate temperature for your task – then add your EVOO, your oil will heat much more quickly than your cooking vessel if you add it at the start.
Butter to Olive Oil conversion: