Many people ask us about the olive oil we produce and what does it mean for an oil to be considered “extra virgin”. Olive oil producers such as Dos Pizotes Olive Ranch have their oils tested annually to determine if they are in fact, extra virgin grade. In this post, we will define the term “extra virgin olive oil” (EVOO) and what it means for you as a consumer.
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
An olive oil that has been determined to be extra virgin must meet certain chemical requirements and be free of defects when put forth before a taste test panel.
Passing the Test
Olive oil primarily consists of oleic acid with smaller amounts of fatty acids. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid (a fat that has double-bonds between carbon atoms that can reduce the amount of hydrogen atoms bonding with carbon). Oleic acid is the most common monounsaturated fatty acid found in humans as well as in vegetal material. Other fatty acids found in olive oil are called linoeic acid and palmitic acid.
In order for an olive oil to be considered extra virgin it must have less than 0.5% free fatty acid of the mass of oleic acid determined by a chemical laboratory. Free acidity is produced by hydrolysis, a chemical reaction in which water breaks down a compound where it is inserted across a molecular bond. A breakdown of oleic acid can occur in bruised fruit when harvested, improperly stored, or by insect damage.
Below are some chemical results conducted in 2018 of Dos Pizotes’ California Premium Blend Oil performed by Agbiolab. The free fatty acid percentage of our California Premium Blend olive oil was 0.18% oleic.
In addition to the chemical requirements, a sensory panel test is performed to determine extra virgin quality. The panel looks for certain defects. One particularly important defect is the “Fusty-Muddy Sediment” defect. This combines the “fusty” and “muddy” defects into one category. The fusty defect occurs when olives have undergone fermentation prior to milling. The muddy defect occurs when the oil has been in contact with sediment for an extended period of time.
A sensory panel test was performed by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) on our California Premium Blend oil. The results of the test were compiled into a Negative Attributes report shown below:
Positive taste attributes are also recorded in a Positive Description report shown below. The positive attributes of our oil have “nutty”, “fruity” and “woody” flavor attributes.
Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Important to You?
EVOO has many health benefits that are described in our Heath Benefits of Our Olive Oil page. Extra virgin olive oil is the purest form of olive oil that contains antioxidants such as vitamin E and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, as previously discussed. Researchers on the health benefits of olive oil are discovering that it may be effective against cancer, reducing the risk of type II diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease and other health risks.
The benefits of adding olive oil to your diet are unparalleled and can promote your health in many ways. Replacing fats in your diet that are unhealthy, such as margarine or butter, with olive oil is a great way to improve your diet (see our Useful Butter Conversions page).
Dos Pizotes Olive Oil strives to produce EVOO of haute quality, rich in flavor and abundant in health benefits. Because we value your satisfaction with our olive oil we go to great measures to ensure it. We hope you enjoy a unique taste experience with our olive oil like no other.