Chemistry & Nutrition

Olive Oil Chemistry

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 extra virgin olive oil yields fewer if any health benefits and undesirable flavor. Becoming intimately familiar with a particular extra virgin olive oil’s chemistry and crush date will help you make an educated decision about which EVOO is right for you.

Crucial Olive Oil Chemistry Definition Key

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 IOCC 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. 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: (PV) Base 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.

Polyphenol Count: 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.

New Testing Methods Based on Olive Oil Chemistry

DAGS Test/Score: 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. The bond on the 2 positions is weak and easily broken, leading to the migration of the 2 position fatty acid to the 3 position. This results in the much more stable 1,3 DAG. This make the ration of 1,2 DAGs to the total DAG’s a good indicator of the quality of the olive fruit and the processing. It is also an indicator of the age of oil, since the migration from 1,2 to 1,3 DAGs takes place naturally as the oil ages. Warmer storage temperatures, and higher free fatty acid levels will both accelerate this process, but DAGs are not affected by the shore exposure to high heat that is characteristic of deodorizing (refining).

PPP Test/Score: This test was developed to measure the degradation of chlorophyll in olive oil. This degradation of chlorophylls to pyropheophytin was found to take place at a predictable pace, making it possible to gain information about the age of an olive oil. The rate at which the degradation occurs can be accelerated by even short periods of high temperatures such as during the deodorizing and refining process. 

Nutritional Facts

Oliva’s oils contain 120 calories per tablespoon.  This would include our Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Fused and Infused Oils and Specialty Oils. Total fat content equals 13g (Saturated Fat 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Trans Fat 0g). The Sodium content in our oils is 0mg, Total Carbs is 0g and total Protein is 0g         

Our Roasted Almond and Walnut Oils carry a bit higher caloric content at 130 calories per tablespoon.  Total fat content equals 14g for each but some variations in the type of fat content.  The almond oil has Saturated Fat 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g and Trans Fat 0g.  The walnut oil has Saturated Fat 1.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 10g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.5g and Trans Fat 0g.  The Sodium content in each of our nut oils is 0mg, Total Carbs is 0g and total Protein is 0g.        

Balsamic Chemistry

In our never-ending pursuit to offer the highest quality products, we have worked tirelessly for decades with our Balsamic partner to continuously raise the bar. Not only was our supplier the first company in the United States to offer a verifiably caramel color-free balsamic to our customers, we are proud to offer authentic balsamic vinegar made exclusively in Modena Italy that is truly artisan crafted to be identical to Traditional Extra Vecchio DOP in both flavor and chemical composition. We have been able to accomplish this by demanding the highest proportion of barrel aged, kettle-cooked grape must in our products crafted in Modena, Italy. The increase in grape must correlates to the increase in total carbohydrates in our balsamic. Our traditional style balsamic is now comprised of over 97% cooked barrel aged grape must. This also equates to a higher amount of grape solids in our product. These solids (when measured in total) also include the natural fruit sugar which originates solely from grapes. While the total solids in our products equate to more carbs, the grape solids (when measured in isolation without their natural sugar included) correspond to a high concentration of natural phenols. We are excited to announce that we’re currently measuring these phenols with the most proficient balsamic labs in the world and studying their nature with leading scientific experts in Modena, Italy. We know that naturally fermented products such as balsamic vinegar have long been touted as health promoting due to their pro-biotic nature. We also intend to better understand the health implications associated with consuming grape phenols as our products have the highest amount of grape solids measured (minus grape sugar) of any other balsamic product available. We know this will be a valuable portion of the continuing education for our customers in order to help them identify and avoid products which are “poorly made”, “watered down” or “doctored”.

Nutritional Facts

Oliva’s dark balsamics contain 40 calories per tablespoon. Total Fat content is 0g and no Saturated or Trans Fats. The Sodium content is 5mg per tablespoon, Total Carbs at 10g and Sugar at 9g. The dark balsamics contain 0g of Dietary Fiber or Protein. Certain flavors will carry a lower caloric, sugar and carb content such as Fig, Maple, Neapolitan Herb, Pomegranate and others. Our Denissimo product has a slightly higher caloric content at 50 per tablespoon.  It also has 5mg of Sodium, 12g of Carbs and 12g of Sugars.

Our white balsamics contain 40 calories per tablespoon. Total Fat content is 0g and no Saturated or Trans Fats. The Sodium content is 5mg per tablespoon, Total Carbs at 9g and Sugar at 9g. The white balsamics contain 0g of Dietary Fiber or Protein.           

Finally, our Specialty Vinegars contain between 3-10 calories per tablespoon.  All have no Total Fats, roughly 5mg Sodium each 0g-2g of Carbs and 0g-2g of Sugars.  Like the white balsamics, no Dietary Fiber or Protein.

Gluten Free Statement

Our supplier attests that all of our Oils and Vinegars are Gluten Free products and are produced and packaged in gluten free facilities. No products are produced or packaged in a facility which could cause gluten contamination. 

This statement pertains to:

Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Fused and Infused Olive Oils
Nut & Seed Oils
Balsamic Vinegars
Wine Vinegars
Specialty Vinegars