Chemistry of Olive Oil

Health Benefits of UP Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh 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 undesirable flavor.

Becoming intimately familiar with a particular EVOO'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. Know the harvest / crush date! We early harvest our fruit, we want green olives not blackened, rotten, over ripened olives.

Many companies harvest their olives too late, they wait until the fruit is black to get more oil out of so they can make more money$$. But that means you have been consuming rotten olive oil and didn't even know it. We mill our olives within 2-4 hours after picking.

Unlike other harvesters, we crush the pit of the fruit since that is part of the olive which also aids in the nutraceutical health benefits of the extra virgin olive oil.

Crucial Olive Oil Chemistry Definition Key

Oleic Acid:
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 (Healthy Antioxidants):
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 101-660ppm! 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.

This is a term referencing a test/score applied to olive oils for quality purposes. It measures the proportion of two forms of diacylglycerol: 1,2 and 1,3. In oil freshly made from sound olives of good quality, the prevalent form of DAG is the 1,2 form where the fatty acids are bonded to a glycerol molecule in the 1 and 2 positions. Eventually this form changes into a 1,3 bond after it ages. It's a good indicator of the quality of the olive fruit and the processing/age of an oil. Warmer storage temperatures, and higher free fatty acid levels will both accelerate this process, but DAGs are not affected by the short exposure to high heat that is characteristic of deodorizing (refining) an oil (which is bad for you).

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