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About Your Olive Oil

Not all extra virgin olive oil is created equal.  The U.S. has lax regulations allowing many imported and domestic oils to be diluted with seed oils, preservatives, chemicals, fillers, etc.  

Because olive oil is perishable, it is best consumed fresh to optimize flavor and health benefits.  Certain chemical components such as free fatty acids (FFA) and peroxide values increase over time degrading the oil and causing rancidity.

Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dry space such as a kitchen cabinet and should be kept away from light and heat.  There is no need to refrigerate.  Once purchased and bottled, our oil should be used within 9 months.

Olive Oil Chemistry Definitions

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.

Crucial Olive Oil Chemistry Definition Key

POLYPHENOLS:  Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods.  Polyphenols such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal and hydroxytyrosol 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 extra virgin olive oil.  Phenols in 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.

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% - 85%.  Extra virgin olive oil high in oleic acid has greater resistance to oxidation.  

FFA:  Based on IOOC standards the maximum limit for free fatty acid in extra virgin olive oil is 0.8g per 100g (.8%).  A low FFA is desirable.  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 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.

Conversion Chart - Butter to Olive Oil

Butter/MargarineExtra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon 3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 cup 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup 1/4 cup
1/2 cup 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup 1/2 cup
3/4 cup 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup 3/4 cup