The Virgin Olive Oil could be defined as the juice of the olives, obtained directly from this fruit and only by mechanical procedures. Based on different qualities, olive oils are classified as:
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the highest quality of the whole family of olive oils
Virgin olive oil, the second highest quality of all olive oils
Lampante virgin olive oil of such low quality that it is not suitable for human consumption and it must go through refinement to be able to consum. After purification with chemical o temperature processes to eliminate all defects, it results in a neutral vegetable fat
Olive oil the result of the blend of refined oil with 15-20% of virgin or extra virgin oil to give it some color and flavor. It is an inferior oil
If the acidity is less than 0.8 degrees and there are no defects, we are faced with an Extra Virgin Olive Oil - AOVE -while if defects are detected and the acidity goes from 0.8 to 2 degrees, it is classified as Virgin Olive Oil.
WHAT DOES EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (EVOO) MEAN?
The extra virgin olive oil is, within the virgin olive oils, the category of olive oil of higher quality. In order for an extra virgin olive oil to be considered as such, it must fulfill two conditions: one of chemical character, the percentage of acidity, and another of an organoleptic character, that is, of flavor and aroma, which is checked by tasting.
WHAT IS THE ACIDITY OF OLIVE OIL?
The acidity of an olive oil gives us information about the volume of free fatty acids that are present in the oil. The difference in the degree of acidity between one olive oil and another lies mainly in the state of the olive before the elaboration of the oil. Besides, the acidity of an oil, increases as oil is exposed to oxidizing and aggressive environments. An olive oil with an acidity level higher than 2% is not suitable for human consumption, so it is processed chemically for refining.
It is a widespread error to think olive oils with a lower degree of acidity correspond to mild flavors, and more intense flavors are characteristic of oils with a higher degree of acidity because acidity does not affect taste. A low degree of acidity in olive oil means that this oil has been made from healthy fruits and that its entire manufacturing process has been developed under optimum conditions.
WHAT ARE THE OLIVE OIL POLYPHENOLS?
Polyphenols are chemical compounds present in most foods of vegetable origin. There are polyphenols, for example, in tea, beer, red wine, chocolate, and olive oil. Polyphenols, in general, show antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, preventing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels. Similarly, there are indications of the antitumor properties of the polyphenols. The polyphenol concentration of an olive oil depends on the olive variety from which the oil comes. There are varieties in which the levels of polyphenols are naturally higher than in others. Thus, for example, the olive of the Picual variety usually produces more polyphenols than arbequina. The refinement process removes most of the polyphenols from the oil. Polyphenols give the oil that bitter taste due to oleuropein, a polyphenol exclusive to olive oil.
WHAT IS COLD EXTRACTION?
The cold extraction olive oil is the one that is extracted at a temperature below 80.6 º F. The temperature has a relatively important impact on the quality of the olive oil from the culinary and organoleptic point of view. The substances responsible for the aromas and odors of olive oil are volatile substances, which means that they are very easy to evaporate. Therefore, at more extraction temperatures, the volatiles compounds escape from the oil and, as a result, the oil loses some intensity in aromas and flavors, and its culinary characteristics are smaller.
On the other hand, low temperatures reduce the oxidation rate, so under equal conditions, the cold extraction oil will have less acidity.
WHAT ARE MONOVARIETAL OLIVE OILS?
Monovarietal olive oils are oils produced only with a certain variety of olives. Most of the olive oil produced in Spain is produced by groups of olive growers from a region who have different varieties of olive trees and mix the olives of all of them for the milling. Then, they sell the oil thus produced, an olive oil of which it was not known with certainty its composition by varieties.
In recent years, with the installation of small oil mills on private farms, where the varieties that are produced are controlled and separated, monovarietal oils have appeared and consumers are learning to identify the characteristics of each.
WHAT VARIETY IS THE BEST OLIVE OIL?
The olive variety does not really affect the quality of the oil. Monovarietal oils can be extra-virgin, virgin or lampante. Another thing is the taste, that is, it can be produced extra virgin oils of any variety.
Some consumers like bitter oils, typical of some varieties, while others do not like them at all. The fruity notes are different between varieties, but this aspect is only differentiable in extra virgin oils. Some varieties have notes of tomato, others of nut, almond, banana, artichoke, etc.
WHAT IS THE "COUPAGE" OR MIX OF MONOVARIETAL OLIVE OILS?
Monovarietal olive oil "coupage" is a controlled blending in different percentages to obtain new aromas and flavors, or to improve the health characteristics of a variety by adding a certain percentage of another that has, for example, more antioxidants.
In addition to these coupages that are produced willfully by choice of a manufacturer, there are coupages that are natural due to the different varieties of olive that are grown and picked up mixed.
WHAT ARE FILTERED AND UNFILTERED OLIVE OILS?
The difference between the filtered and unfiltered olive oil is that the second one preserves some suspended solids and small amounts of water from the olive since it has not gone through the filtration process. For this reason, the unfiltered oils have a cloudy appearance and the filtered oils have a more translucent and shiny appearance. For some consumers, unfiltered oil is more genuine and intense. For others, the filtration does not take away anything from the oil and the transparent appearance gives it cleanliness.
One of the advantages of unfiltered oil and still cloudy appearance is that the consumer is certain that the oil is fresh and that it has been produced in the last olive season. Another interesting feature of unfiltered oils is that they retain additional polyphenols. The disadvantage of unfiltered oils is their less attractive appearance than filtered oils and they have to be consumed in less than a year because after that time can transmit some undesirable aroma to the product although in no case the oil is in bad conditions.
HOW MANY VARIETIES OF OLIVES ARE IN SPAIN?
In Spain, there are more than 260 olive varieties, a rich heritage that offers us great possibilities in the kitchen. Each of them brings unique flavors and aromas.
Some of the varieties of olives are Arbequina, Hojiblanca, Manzanilla, Picual, Cornicabra, Lechin....
WHAT IS THE "PROTECTED DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN"?
Protected Designations of Origin recognize the Extra Virgin Olive oils produced in specific areas, with specific varieties of olives (a single variety or several, representative of that area) and under specific conditions of processing and quality. Only the extra virgin olive oils that comply with these standards can take the label of the Protected Denomination of Origin.
Spain has 29 D.O. Of olive oils distributed throughout the country. A testimony to the excellent quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oils produced in Spain.
HOW DO WE SELECT OUR OLIVE OILS IN BONA FIDE FOODS?
We develop a complete selection process in the olive tree itself, looking for the quality "in origin". We seek the best fruit of our land and select the olives of diverse varieties (hojiblanca, picual, arbequina...), that will be collected at the time the maturity is the most suitable, in order to obtain only extra virgin olive oil with the best quality, aroma, and flavor.
At Bona Fide Foods, we offer our customers both monovarietal olive oils and our special "coupage" (controlled blendig) that combine the best flavors and different aspects of different varieties of olives to obtain a unique olive juice different from other brands and with an extra quality point.
HOW TO STORE OLIVE OIL?
Olive oil is a fruit juice. Its taste and properties decrease over time. It is a process in which the oil goes rancid (the oil is oxidized) In the absence of oxygen the oil is perfectly preserved but in contact with the air, the oil develops stale taste. Another consequence is that the polyphenols, antioxidants present in the extra virgin olive oil, are reduced so that the beneficial properties for the health of these substances also decrease. Light, mainly, and high temperature accelerates the process.
That is why it is recommended:
Store the oil in a dark place
Open the container and, after use, close the cap again.
Keep the oil in a cool place.
Keep the oil protected from intense odors. Olive oil has a great ability to catch other flavors.
If you transfer the oil, use small containers to refill it in normal use.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VIRGIN OLIVE OILS FOR HEALTH?
Olive oil has many beneficial properties for health. Many of them have been scientifically discovered and tested in the last 60 years. The first discovered properties of olive oil were related to its fat, the high percentage of oleic acid in its composition, and its beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
However, in recent years other health properties of olive oil have been detected which are not attributable to the fat fraction of the oil (saponifiable fraction). These properties are related to other compounds present in virgin olive oil which have a high antioxidant effect and which prevent or reduce many oxidative processes associated with multiple ailments.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF FRYING WITH OLIVE OILS?
Olive oil is the most stable vegetable oil in the range of temperatures commonly used for frying. This is due to two reasons: the high concentration of oleic acid, monounsaturated fatty acid (which is more stable at high temperatures than the polyunsaturated fatty acids, predominant in the composition of the oils of seeds) and the presence of polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants of olive oil that protect the oil from oxidization and degradation.
HOW TO KNOW IF AN OLIVE OIL IS IN BAD CONDITION
Here we give you some clues to see if an olive oil is in poor condition
The oil has a strange and unnatural color. Extra virgin olive oils have a range of colors ranging from intense green to golden. Any color other than these may be an indication that the oil is in poor condition.
Odor and stale taste. Most of the poorly available oil at the disposal of consumers will correspond to rancid oils. That is to say, extra virgin olive oils that have been oxidized little by little, in the shops or in the kitchens of the consumers, and have ended up tainting.
The process by which a olive oil became rancid, is inevitable, it will happen sooner or later, but it can be delayed with good conservation practices. The smell of a stale oil reminds the smell of the varnish or solvent of a freshly painted room. A safe oil that will be stale if it has been opened in a bottle for more than three years.
WHAT IS THE BEST CONTAINER TO PRESERVE THE OLIVE OIL?
Glass: This is possibly the most elegant packaging but it makes the product more expensive. Also, keep in mind that the glass must be dark to preserve the oil from light.
Tin: Clearly this is one of the best containers to acquire a good extra virgin olive oil. It has the disadvantage to the consumer that the product is not seen, but in this sense, we must emphasize that the color of the extra virgin olive oil does not indicate its quality. We must also highlight tin package can be easily recyclable, which contributes positively to the care of the environment.
PET: It is usually the lowest price package for an extra virgin olive oil. With this package, we must especially care for the conditions of conservation of extra virgin olive oil because it is the one that protects the worst from light and air.