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July 13, 2022
Extra virgin olive oil decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Freshly-crushed olive oil is like freshly-squeezed fruit juice in that it contains the most flavor and nutrients. Old, poorly-made, and improperly-stored EVOO yields fewer if any health benefits and a less desirable flavor.
Crucial Olive Oil Chemistry Terminology
Oleic Acid: 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%. Extra virgin olive oil high in oleic acid has greater resistance to oxidation.
FFA (Free-Fatty Acid), Based on USDA & IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) The standard for the maximum limit for free-fatty acid in EVOO is 0.8g per 100g or (.8%). A low FFA is desirable. FFA 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 delay between harvest and crush.
Peroxide Value: Based on USDA & IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) 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 for a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light and oxygen exposure.
Polyphenol Count: A class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Polyphenols such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, andhydroxytyrosol impart intensity connected with pepper, bitterness, and other desirable flavor characteristics. Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming fresh, high-quality EVOO. Phenols in the olive oil 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.
July 13, 2023
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