Terminology & Education
In our continued efforts to provide you with pertinent information about our products, we want to offer you this menu of olive oil and balsamic terms. We hope that by knowing the lingo, you will be better equipped to select the olive oils and balsamic vinegars that most meet your needs.
- Polyphenols: plant-based phtyochemicals that naturally occur in the olive. Polyphenols act as both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The higher the polyphenol count, the more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties available within a particular olive and olive oil.
- Biophenols: plant-based phtyochemicals that naturally occur in the olive. Biophenols act as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The higher the biophenol count, the more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties available within a particular olive and olive oil.
- Olive Oil Intensity: intensity refers to both the polyphenol health properties and the flavor. Intensities range mild, medium, and robust. As the intensity increases, the flavor becomes more peppery as a result of increased polyphenols.
- FFA: free fatty acids, which are tested once the olives have been crushed into olive oil. The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) has set the maximum FFA in extra virgin olive oil at <9%. If the FFA level exceeds the maximum IOOC standard at testing, this indicates that the olive was of poor quality either from damage or over-ripening at harvest, insect infestation, overheating during production or too much of a delay between harvest and crush.
- Oleic Acid: a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil. Oleic acid ranges 55%-85%, which is generally higher than in other vegetable oils. As a monounsaturated fat, oleic acid lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), which in turn, lowers risk of heart disease and stroke. The monounsaturated fats help develop and maintain the body’s cells. Oleic acid contributes vitamin E to the diet. The vitamin E not only keeps the olive from degrading more quickly through oxidation, it also aids in preventing the deteriorating of the body into chronic diseases.
- Peroxide Value: peroxide occurs when the unsaturated fatty acids react with oxygen, which causes the olive oil to become musty or rancid. This process naturally occurs in olive oil but can be accelerated by high temperatures, light, and oxygen exposure. The IOOC established the maximum peroxide as 20 for olive oil to still meet extra virgin standards; however, a very low peroxide value is most desirable.
- DAGS: refers to one of the chemistry tests olive oils undergo to ensure they are extra virgin grade. The DAGS acts as a good indicator of the olive oils’ age and quality of the olive fruit and processing methods. The higher the DAGS number, the fresher/younger the olive oil. DAGS should be conducted by a reputable third party lab.
- PPP: refers to another chemical test conducted to ensure the quality of the olive oil. The PPP measures the degradation of chlorophyll in olive oil, which occurs naturally at a predictable pace. As a result, chemists are able to determine the age of the olive oil with a high degree of accuracy. The lower the PPP score, the fresher/younger the olive oil. PPP should also be conducted by a reputable third party lab.
- 25-Star Balsamic: often used to describe an aged balsamic, but it is a completely false term. The 25-star balsamic is often associated with a 25-year aged balsamic. There are balsamic vinegars that are aged 25 years, but they are often very expensive as the balsamic can only be produced in small quantities. Over time, the fermenting balsamic loses 90% of its liquid to end up with a very thick balsamic.