EVOO Chemistry Guide
Oleic Acid (Healthy Monounsaturated Fat)
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. 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. 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”.
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”. Consuming fresh, well-made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain maximum health benefits.
FFA - Free Fatty Acid (Acidity)
Free fatty acid speaks to the condition of the fruit at the time of crush. The lower, the better. The IOC* 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. 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 (PV)
This number must be equal to or less than 20. A very low peroxide value is desirable. 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.
*IOC = International Olive Oil Council